Olympic berths just a jab away

The five Cayman Islands boxers who won medals at the Ronald Wilson Memorial Tournament in Barbados last week are already back in training with hopes of qualifying for next year’s London Olympics firmly in their sights.

Dariel Ebanks, Tafari Ebanks and Thomas McField-Brown won golf medals and Kendall Ebanks and Gino ‘Crusher’ Brown grabbed silvers.

Lightweight Kendall has just turned 21. He lost on points to Kobe Breedy. He said: “It was a great fight against Breedy, toe to toe and punch for punch throughout. We were both slipping punches. We were both experienced fighters so it wasn’t easy for either of us. He went to the world championships with me in September. We sparred together at the worlds to get prepared for our fights. We didn’t go all out like we did in Barbados but this time we were going hard. It could have gone either way but I guess because it was in his home town they gave me the decision.

“It’s Olympic year so I don’t intend to have a break. I want to go to Florida to get some extra training and maybe fight up there on Saturday. I now want to do the Golden Gloves in Florida next month.”

Brown is still a baby for a super-heavy, only turning 18 three weeks ago. That was his first loss in four bouts. “My experience in Barbados was far more than I’ve ever had down here. I faced a big grown man who looked around thirtysomething,” Brown said. “I still did my thing, lost in the second round but learnt from my mistakes and will get better. At the time I thought the stoppage was the right decision but when I saw it on video I saw I was still throwing punches. But that is how it goes sometimes.” Brown wants to get more amateur experience for now before possibly going pro.

Coach Anglin said: “They all performed to the best of their ability. Crusher is the only case I have a question mark over. He tried to cover up when taking punches but the referee continued counting unnecessarily. There’s no question that Crusher was a better boxer. His opponent looked much older and he was from Barbados. That’s why they made sure he got a win because Barbados were not doing too well.

“Dariel and Thomas both beat Barbadian boxers so the general feeling was that they had to get Cayman. Tafari beat a Guyanese fighter. Guyanese are always tough.

“We have to keep moving because it is Olympic year, so we’ve got to be prepared for that. Dariel has got an invitation to go to Wales in February for a month’s high performance training that will lead to the Olympic qualifiers the following month in Brazil. That’s a good break for him, Kendall too is keeping busy, so we’ll just keep fighting on.”

Boxing association President Thomas Ebanks said: “I’m ecstatic with the five medals we won in Barbados. It’s quite an accomplishment for the amount of dedication that the boxers have put in and all the coaches. It’s a testament for all the hard work put in by everyone and the boxers are now making us proud.

“We’re now in serious preparations for the Olympic trials in China for the women and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the men. We’re going to start preparing them for that but will also be mindful of not neglecting the other boxers. The men we expect to go to the Olympic trials are Dariel, Kendall and possibly Tafari and Thomas. The women we hope to send are Tracey Seymour and Jessica McFarlane-Richards.

“We’ve also just got notification that we could get a few boxers added to the Olympics from Solidarity as a small nation and are busy sorting out the paperwork for that.”

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