By Sean Devers
The late completion of the setting up the Boxing Ring at the Cliff Anderson National Sports Hall on Friday Night, caused an almost two-hour late start to fourth annual Caribbean Schoolboys and Juniors Boxing Championships, which now has the name of Commonwealth Gold Medallist Winfield Braithwaite attached to it.
The delay resulted in two of the six scheduled local bouts along with opening Ceremony being postponed to last night; night two of the Card, which ends tomorrow night.
Friday night’s attendance was disappointing as Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago won the two International bouts of the night with both decisions raising eyebrows of the loser’s supporters.
With the Famme Band Sound from South Ruimveldt entertaining the fans in the sparsely populated stands, Sean Graham beat Malachi Jones, Jaqwan Milo got the better of Jeron McKenzie, Joshua Thombarran beat 13-year-old Theirry Moore and Sherlon Stephen defeated Shemar Morrison in the local match-ups.
In the International bouts, Guyanese Mark Crawford was far from his best and seemed a bit fortunate to gain the judges verdict in his Lightweight fight in the Juniors division against Barbadian Tyreec Taitt, while Trini, Al Jaleel Jokhu’s victory over Dwayne Castillo in the most entertaining fight of the night, could have gone either way and left the Guyana Camp fuming.
Guyana has won Championship honours in all of the three previous tournaments and the last time they would have failed to win a Caribbean tournament at this level was in 2017 in St Lucia when they sent a depleted team for the Caribbean Development Boxing tournament but they were off to an inauspicious start at the home of Boxing on Friday night.
The Guyanese preparations for this tournament commenced since June 14 but the performance of the 15-year old Crawford from the Forgotten Youth Foundation left much to be desired in his contest against Taitt.
Both boxers came out in aggressive fashion with the Bajan looking the better boxer despite being warned for ducking, while Crawford was cautioned for holding by the Referee.
Both boxers had their moments but Taitt seemed to have won the round.
The second round saw Taitt scoring with combinations to the head and body of the Guyanese, who retaliated with a hard right to head as both boxers threw punches and counter punches with the Bajan seemingly ending the round slightly ahead in the fight.
In the final round Taitt kept moving forward and had Crawford, not utilizing his Jabs as he should, on the back foot and he was caught with a few upper cuts to the body.
With Crawford starting to run out Gas, it seemed a knock-out was the way out but despite a late flurry from the Guyanese, he appeared a bit fortunate to gain the Judges nod.
In the second International fight in the 46kg division, 14-year-old Castillo and the stylish Jokhu from the Twin Island Republic produced the best fight of the night.
The Trini displayed nice foot-movement but most of his early punches were fired from out of range and hit thin air as Castillo easily evaded them.
Jokhu was the busier of the two but Castello, boxing out of a Southpaw stance, found his rhythm and connected with some good shots to the body.
But the Trini, dancing around the Ring, demonstrated fast hands and landed some good shots of his own as the opening round ended without a clear winner.
In the second stanza, the intensity increased and with the entire Guyana team screaming encouragement from Ringside, Castello seemed re-energized by the raucous support and caught Jokhu with some clinical Combos as the teenagers went at each and fought toe-to-toe to bring the handful of fans to their feet.
In the final round the slick Trini danced out of range as Castello threw some big punches as the boxers traded punches in bunches with the Guyanese scoring towards the dying stages with a couple of body digs but Jokhu held on and did enough to win an action packed fight that could have gone either way.
Last night the International bouts were set after the opening Ceremony is held at 18:00hrs, while the lone international Female bout between 14-year-old Alisha Jackman and her Trinidadian opponent was also scheduled for last night.
Meanwhile, Boxing promoter Seon Bristol presented a pair of Boxing boots to Alisha and her elder sibling Abiola who was slated to fight a boxer from Sophia in a local bout last night.
The sisters from the FYF Gym in Albouystown thanked Bristol, the cousin of former Professional pugilist Kenny Bristol, for his donation and said they would put their best foot forward with the news boots.
The presentation was done in front of the portrait of former Boxer Cliff Anderson after whom the National Sports Hall is named.
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