She’s no powder puff puncher

Women’s boxing has never been
really accepted by chauvinist followers of the sport yet it is going to get
more prominence as it will be featured at the London Olympics in 2012.

Barbados hosted the Women’s World
Boxing Championships last month where China dominated, winning one gold, three
silvers and three bronzes.

Russia took home two gold medals
and one silver. The other seven gold medals were shared by India, Ireland, USA,
Canada, Turkey, Brazil and North Korea.

These were the first world
championships since women’s boxing was approved as an official Olympic sport
which is why all the traditional powerhouses, such as China, Russia, United
States, England and India, dispatched their best troops.

The Cayman Islands is taking baby
steps to creating a strong women’s boxing programme. There are only a handful
of regulars at the moment – the main three being Tracey Seymour. Myra Bodden
and Jessica McFarlane-Richards – but it’s increasing.

Seymour may be matched when Cayman
send a team to Florida to take on the West Palm Beach club on 20 November. She
has a raft of great coaches to prepare her at the magnificent new D. Dalmain
Ebanks gym; head coach Nayon ‘Donie’ Anglin, world class fighter Charles ‘The
Killa’ Whittaker, his trainer Stormin’ Norman Wilson, Phillmore Barnett and
Troy O’Neil. New president of the boxing association is Thomas Ebanks and his
brother Timothy is on the executive committee too. They are step-sons of Dalmain
who died in 2006.

Shari Walton, runner-up in the Miss
Cayman competition last month, is step-granddaughter of Dalmain Ebanks and she
too is not too vain to take punches to the face.

Seymour is pleased that Barbados
hosted such a prominent championship which will help elevate women’s boxing in
the region. “I think it’s a great event to be happening at the moment
especially in the Caribbean,” she says. “I was online reading up about it and
looking over some of the pictures from the event and I could just imagine
myself there one day and one day I will be there.”

She would love to see a women’s
tournament here. “I think it would shine an even brighter light on our Island.
People around the world know us mainly for our crystal blue water, powder white
sand, fine hotels and our many banks. But it would be great if they could also
know us for our many talents too and I believe a women’s boxing event will help
with that.”

She has had knee problems in the
past but has overcome that. Her record so far in amateur shows is two wins and
two losses but plenty of victories in nightclub organised boxing contests.
Seymour is a natural which is evident by the way others treat her with enormous
respect in the gym, gleaned from sparring hundreds of rounds with mostly male
boxers. This girl is no powder puff puncher. Concentrating on getting her
weight down, she hopes to compete at middleweight – 75kg or 165lbs
eventually. 

“My coaches were telling me that we
may go off to Miami to compete a bit over there in November and then we may
hold another event here in Cayman in December and I’m really looking forward to
it as I haven’t fought since the Turtle Farm show last year.”

Seymour, 25, an operations manager
at The Tour Company, has seen her passion for boxing rub off on many around
her. “I have inspired a lot of my friends and family. My sister and cousins and
a few of my girlfriends came out to train a few times. But it’ll take time for
them to get used to such a sport as most of them are not used to getting hit in
the face or to their body so at first it’s a little scary for them. But they
are still inspired to learn and develop and hopefully one day they’ll be part
of the team. 

“I think it can grow a lot here if
women give it a chance. A lot of them may feel a little intimidated by such a
sport because it involves being hit and that would strike fear into anyone
especially if you’ve never been in a fight before. But once they see that
boxing not only teaches you how to fight, but also teaches you discipline and
how to control your anger, then anyone would want to join. Heck I did!

“Boxing has taught me a lot,
especially how to control and channel the anger that I used to have. I would
say boxing is a stress reliever. Every time I’m in the gym or in the ring I feel
a sense of peace, even after a bloody lip,” she laughs.

To become a boxing gym member is
$10 and it costs $25 a month to train there. For more information, contact
Donie Anglin on (345) 328-2334 or 939-7944 or [email protected] or Norman
Wilson on (345) 927-7056 or email: [email protected] or
[email protected]