By Sean Devers
The much anticipated first ever Schoolboys and Juniors Boxing Tournament in the English speaking Caribbean punches off at the National Gymnasium from 18:00hrs tonight. The tournament, which includes host Guyana,
St Lucia and Jamaica, concludes tomorrow evening.
The two-night card promises lots of fistic fury and the opportunity of ‘big ring’ experience for the younger pugilists. Fans are being encouraged to support the boxers as they compete in the developmental stage of their careers. Admission is $500 for anyone over 12 while those under that age will be admitted free.
The championship is being hosted by the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA); Barbados and Antigua were also approached but both countries were unable to take up the offer. Manager of the Antigua & Barbuda National Boxing team Stephen Butters confirmed that he was asked but due to lack of funding his association was forced to decline the offer.
According to GBA President Steve Ninvalle, the tournament, which is a part of Guyana’s 50th Independence year of events, was a follow-up to the 13-nation International Goodwill Championship which Guyana hosted last November.
Ninvalle said despite the difficulties of funding for the tournament he is optimistic that the event could be annual. Guyana’s Head Coach Sebert Blake, a former National and Caribbean Boxing Champion, said that while winning is important he feels at this stage of their fledging careers, the experience and exposure gained from participation should prove more valuable to the boxing development of the youngsters.
Blake, a former Pan American Bantamweight Bronze Medalist and three times Caribbean Gold Medalist, said he is satisfied with the talent displayed in the Camp which was held at the Gymnasium.
The 32-year-old Blake, who retired from the ring after failing to make it to the 2000 Olympics explained that the Guyanese will participate in the Junior, Youth, Schoolboys and female categories.
“We had 15-20 junior Boxers (U-19) and Youth (U-17) in the camp while there were about 15-20 Schoolboys (U-15). Three girls, all from Linden, will also be on show” said Blake, who was named National Coach of the year in 2010.
“Guyana will have two teams (an ‘A’ & ‘B’ team) in the international bouts and some of the promising youngsters who will be on show are Christopher Moore, Akiel Mounter, Keevin Allicock and Isaiah Moore, the son of national Champion Leon Moore,” Blake informed.
Blake disclosed that Sean Graham is the youngest at nine years while 13-year-old Shaqency Wright and 11-year-old Devon have shown good promise. He informed that the three female boxers, Akea Lamzion, Rianna Rogers and Rondesa Baggot are Under-15s.
The St Lucia three-man team which comprises of Light Welterweight Nathan Ferrari, Lightweight Kareem Boyce and Welterweight Taj Brown are being coached by Conrad Hunte, a former Guyanese boxer. They touched down here on Tuesday and are being housed at the Ocean View Hotel.
Ferrari was named St Lucia’s Best Junior Boxer of 2015, and Brown recently competed at an international tournament in Guadeloupe. The Jamaican team of Joshua Forrest Davidson (69 kg), Daniel Hylton (60 kg), Jerone Enniss (69kg) – Light Welterweight and Jerrone Enniss, Coached by Robert Napier were expected to arrive last night. The official weigh-in and Medicals will be done today.
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