Punching above their weight

With the two year mark to the 2012
London Olympics passing this week, the awareness that there is precious little
time left to get ready for the Games becomes even more apparent. Cayman’s
boxers are more aware of that than most. Dariel Ebanks, Kendal Ebanks and Jason
Parchment spend every waking moment dreaming of qualifying for the tournament
and then lifting gold. Not impossible dreams if they can cram in enough bouts
and regional tournament experience in the meantime. At the very least they want
to become world class amateurs with an option to go pro if that direction suits
them. There are a couple of others in the gym who harbour those ambitious too
but it’s this trio that are the forerunners at present.

Troy O’Neil generated some of the
most excitement in edging the decision in his heavyweight slug fest. Demesio
Frederick made his debut and gave a gutsy performance in losing to Alex ‘Ricky
Hatton’ O’Keeffe.

Two weeks ago they all looked impressive
in winning their bouts at the D Dalmain Ebanks Boxing Gymnasium in George Town.
It’s almost a year since the superb gym was opened properly for business and
this was the best amateur show held there. There were seven competitive fights,
including five against visiting Jamaicans, who were all beaten. The Jamaican
coach said after that normally Cayman boxers are competitive for the first
round, then tire badly and lose. Not this time.

Under the expert schooling of Head
Coach Nayon ‘Donie’ Anglin and Stormin’ Norman Wilson, trainer of Charles ‘The
Killa’ Whittaker, the boxing programme is really taking shape. Whittaker
usually trains there in the morning, school kids in the afternoon and serious
amateurs and adults in the evenings.

There is a genuine team and
community spirit among all who train there – women and girls too – so the $1.2
million cost of erecting it is actually reaping dividends. Parents are pleased
that their offspring are in a worthwhile, safe activity.

The latest show was not only well supported
by the general public, but also by politicians and other dignitaries. Minister
of Sport Mark Scotland presented a couple of trophies, and former ministers of
sport Alden McLauglin and Frank McField also did the honours. Collin Anglin,
director of sport, and lawyer Steve McField also gave prizes. Killa emceed
throughout, encouraging all in attendance to contribute to the boxing association’s
funds by placing money into its account at Cayman National Bank.

“Everybody who attended was
impressed,” said coach Anglin. “They said they want to see these kind of shows
more often. We had good support considering the bad weather. I was overall very
satisfied. The programme is more organised. We have some good boxers.

“These weren’t the most competitive
fights we’ve had. I thought Tafari Ebanks had the hardest fight. Dariel won in
one round and had no chance to get tired. Jason (his son) had a strong opponent
but he made it an easy win. Kendal fought his guy a third time and beat him for
the third time but the Jamaican hadn’t improved much. He was better in his
second fight against Kendal.

“I spoke to the Jamaican president
and he said he’ll have to send tougher guys over next time. We’ll see what

The plan for the Cayman boxing
association is to host a team from the Bahamas at the end of August, possibly
with females to fight local girls Tracey Seymour and Jessica McFarlane.