Bahamas loved our honesty

Boxing promises to develop one of Cayman’s principle sports soon on the strength of how popular their shows are becoming at the superb D. Dalmain Ebanks gym. The latest one on Saturday hosted a Bahamian team for the third time in a year.

Watched by sports minister Mark Scotland and education minister Rolston Anglin along with a raft of dignitaries who gave out trophies, the 200 in attendance enjoyed another evening of well matched bouts and went home keenly anticipating the next show at the same venue on 5 March, this time against the US Virgin Islands and Aruba with possibly a featherweight from Antigua on the bill too.

Fight of the night was the middleweight clash between locals Peter ‘Lightning’ Lewison and Jesse Bodden. It was a box-off to see who goes to the Pan American Games trials beginning next month – and what a scrap it was!

Going into the ring, Bodden had the slight edge in experience and technique but was coming off an absence of almost two years. Lewison has fought regularly in that time and along with his phenomenal power and will to win, he had in his corner Cayman’s world class light-middle Charles ‘The Killa’ Whittaker guiding him. Head coach Donie Anglin was in Bodden’s corner. It was sizzling stuff from the off with very little in it going into the third round.

A stiff left hook in the closing exchanges rocked the tiring Bodden for a standing count and that ensured the contest in Lewison’s favour. Scotland presented his trophy.

Bodden only started serious training last month so even if he misses the Pan American Games, has time to shake off the rust and bounce back. Next year’s London Olympics is his goal so it will be interesting to see how things work out for him.

The evening began with an exhibition bout between junior flyweights Diego Rodriquez and Richard Charlton from the Bahamas. Next Javaka ‘Assassin’ Kellier took on Demesio Frederick. Kellier was busy but Frederick landed more power punches to win on points.

At welterweight in another junior match, Bahamian Erin Roberts was too sharp and precise for Cayman debutante Boyd Edwar who was stopped in the first.

Colin ‘Bubbalicious’ Barrett is a real character in the gym and in another junior contest, at heavyweight, he outpointed fellow Caymanian Chevar Taylor in a clash of debutantes.

Thomas McField made his debut too – this time at senior welter – and when he gave Ansel Lawrence his third standing count at the end of the second round, visiting referee Terry Griffiths from the Bahamas stopped the contest, as the rules state.

Local stylist Tafari Ebanks enjoyed a comfortable points win over Lester Brown of the Bahamas in a junior bantamweight clash. It was a painful night for the game Brown who took standing counts in the first and second. Ebanks had the superior technique against a stronger opponent who tended to swing more than punch.

Junior featherweights Raymond Rodrigues and Cody Barnett, son of referee/trainer Phillmore Barnett, boxed an exhibition next. Barnett dominated from the start and it looked certain that Rodrigues would succumb, but he gamely boxed on and when Barnett seemed to run out of steam in the third round, Goldsmith gave him a standing count.

Two Caymanian novice super-heavies traded punches when Gino ‘Crusher’ Brown outpointed Matthew ‘Ali’ Allen. It was close throughout with the pattern of Brown always advancing and Allen cleverly landing shots on the retreat.

Light-welter prospect Jason Parchment, son of Donie Anglin, had a quick and easy night when he stopped Ometri Ferguson in the first round after landing a big left hook. It was a controversial ending because Ferguson looked okay as he took his standing count but referee Michael ‘Bobby’ Peart deemed that he did not have his hands high enough to convince him. Ferguson was upset but took the decision sportingly.

In an open lightweight contest Kendall Ebanks boxed well, looking strong and sharp with none of the usual stamina problems, to soundly outpoint Lolyn Johnson. Local favourite Ebanks hurt the Bahamian with a left hook in the first round for a standing count and took control from there.

After the Lewison-Bodden spectacle the show closed with another crowd pleaser. Southpaw light-heavy Dariel Ebanks took his unbeaten record to 11 with a second round stoppage of the outgunned Bahamian David Martin who had taken a standing count in the first round and was evidently out of his depth from the first exchanges. The Bahamians must be getting sick of the sight of Dariel because this was the third time he had beaten them, including two stoppages.

Ebanks even showboated at times so clearly needs stiffer opposition next time although this was his first bout since popping his shoulder in his last fight and being sidelined as a result.

Boxing association president Thomas Ebanks, along with coaches Donie Anglin, Troy O’Neil, Whittaker and Killa’s trainer Norman ‘Stormin’’ Wilson did a great job to co-ordinate this show. Dalmain’s widow, Esther, attended. She is Thomas Ebanks’ mother and to complete the family connection, Tommy’s brother Timothy was a judge.

The Bahamian coaches who came with Griffiths were Jonathan Davis and Harold Seymour. Angella Glidden was the ringside doctor.

The government deserves props for supporting this show because the Bahamians were stretched financially through their own busy international programme, but minister Scotland ensured there was assistance to guarantee a full show went ahead. The visitors have promised to reciprocate soon.

Griffiths was extremely grateful for all the help from the Cayman contingent in a brief speech and even made the point of emphasising local honesty by admitting that he dropped a bundle of cash he was holding for his boxers at the Ramada Grand Caymanian and it was returned by a member of the hotel staff to much relief and appreciation.

Besides the government, sponsors included the Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital, Coconut Car Rental, Ramada Grand Caymanian plus many anonymous sponsors.

Female boxer Tracey Seymour did not get matched as expected because her Jamaican opponent had visa issues, but she hopes to fight on the 5 March bill.

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Lewison’s terrific strength got him through.
PHOTO: RON SHILLINGFORD

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