Havana to punch it out with other Olympic hopefuls

Olympic hopeful boxers Kendall Ebanks and Tafari Ebanks went out to Cuba last week to go into a training camp in Havana that will raise their skill and fitness levels enough to get them to London in July.

The boxers are will get the best of sparring and high intensity training with pugilists from other nationalities in preparation for the final Olympic trials in Rio de Janeiro from 4 May. Kendall, 21, is a light-welter and Tafari, 17, is a feather. They were seen off at the Owen Roberts International Airport by boxing association president Thomas Ebanks.

The trip is being funded by coach Norman Wilson, Thomas Ebanks, Terence Spencer and the family of the two fighters.

As he prepared to fly out, Kendall said: “It’s going to be just training, sparring, running and getting plenty of rest at night and back to the same routine every day that we are there.

“We’re already going out there pretty fit. We’re doing four rounds easy and looking to get much better.”

Tafari said: “Hopefully, we can make it to the Olympics when we go to Brazil because we’ll be training really hard in Cuba. I’m confident of making it to London despite my age because I fought in February a Dominican in Dominican Republic who had over 100 fights and I kept up with him for the three rounds. I can make it.”

Charles ‘Killa’ Whittaker has been helping prepare the boxers. He said: “It was important to get them to go to this camp to get some invaluable sparring and training as the Olympics approach.

“It would be wrong for them to go to the Olympic trials without proper preparation and I’m happy to see them go.”

Coach Wilson said; “This is their last chance to get top level training because there is not enough quality at our gym for them. This is somewhere more intense where they will be sparring with fighters aspiring to get to the Olympics too.”

Killa was intending to go to the Philippines over the Easter weekend to prepare for a low level, tick over fight there at the end of the month as he awaits a huge bout, but his plans were put on hold after being hospitalised by pneumonia for 
a few days.

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