By Sean Devers
Despite an hour late start and a less than capacity turnout, the opening night of the three-night Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) National Novices Championships got off to an exciting start of fistic fury on Tuesday evening at the National Gymnasium on Mandela Avenue.
The highlight of the evening was the emergence of new kid on the block, Harpy Eagles’ 18-year-old Ishawn Khan, the younger brother of National Amateur lightweight boxing champion Imran ‘Magic’ Khan, fighting in only his third contest.
Battling in the Elite preliminaries 56kg division in the third fight of the night, the languid Khan began nervously and took a few telling shots from a seemingly more confident Jason Mickle of GDF in the first round which was dominated by the soldier.
With the GDF base drummers in full force and their fans in the stands providing raucous support for their man, Mickle answered the bell for round two in aggressive fashion but Khan was beginning to find his range as the pugilists traded punches in the middle of the ring.
However, Mickle looked to be ahead at the bell despite both boxers being administered standing eight counts in a hectic second stanza.
But technically correct Khan, coming into the fight with plenty of hype, lived up to that hype in the final round and backed up Mickle with a clinical combination of wicked body blows.
With 34 seconds left in the contest, Khan landed a hard straight right and followed it up with a vicious left hook to Mickle’s head which sent him sprawling to the canvas to end the entertaining battle and enhance Khan’s fast growing reputation as one to watch.
With six Gyms involved, defending champions GDF took an early lead, winning six of the 12 bouts contested on the opening night, while seven fights failed to go the full distance and one did not even start at all with Keevin Allicock of Forgotten Youth Foundation (FYF) getting a walk-over to the final of the Youth 56kg category after Harpy Eagles’ John Sandy failed to take the ring.
In the opening bout in the Elite Semi-finals in the 49kg weight Class, Nyron Fraser fighting out of the Republican Gym, executed a flurry of crisp shots which had Akiemo Watts of GDF staggering for cover.
The GDF Boxer fought back in the second round as both fighters seemed to tire and caught Frazer with a hard right hand to the mid-section at 2:13 seconds into the second round, forcing the referee to stop the fight as the reigning champions began the tournament in an auspicious manner.
In the night’s second bout, also in the 49kg Elite Semis, Hakium Bostwick of GDF charged Republican’s Darmandar Shoepersaud from the word go; unleashing several ‘punches in bunches’ as Shoepersaud swung a few wild haymakers which failed to connect.
Shoepersaud continued to throw swinging left hooks but most of them were short of the mark in the second round before the tempo picked up in the final three minutes with Shoepersaud closing the gaps with a few big shots and in the end did enough to take the fight by a split decision.
Kevin Padmore of Republican lost on points to Kelvin Moore of Vergenoegen Boxing Gym, while, GDF’s Clinton Clarke copped a split decision over Andrew Hescott of Republican Gym in the other 56kg Elite preliminary bouts.
In other first night results, GDF continued their winning ways when Delroy Leacock gained a ‘points decision’ against Republican’s Zahweir Ward, while Delroy Fordyce from the Army beat Republican’s Rakesh Chandrat by knock-out when the fight was halted after 2:15 seconds of the first round of their 60kg semi-finals.
Kevin McKenzie of GDF had his bout against Republican’s Quincy Letlow in the 64kg weight class, stopped by the referee in the first round.
In the 69kg category, Travis Stewart beat Omar Sukhdeo on points; Jamal Leitch (RBG) beat Richard Lanferman by TKO in the first round and Mark Chester (RBG) beat Jamal Crawford (GDF) by TKO in second round.
In the 91kg division, Antonio Williams (GDF) beat Jason Lespoir (REP) by TKO in second round.
There was also a battle outside the ring between the drummers of the GDF and Republicans. After the completion of the three nights the drummer will be presented with Shawnett Kingston trophy for the most raucous group.
Action in the tournament continued last evening and will conclude tonight at the National Gymnasium from 7:00pm.
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