Local boxers Kendall Ebanks and Tafari Ebanks fought in the Independence Cup in the Dominican Republic last week.
The fighters went undefeated in both tournaments in Florida leading up to the Independence Cup and, despite only having two participants, the Cayman Islands ranked No. 3 in the power ranking standings ahead of Cuba, the United States, Canada and Venezuela.
Unfortunately, they were both unsuccessful in their opening bouts.
Tafari lost by two points to a Guatemalan opponent. Meanwhile, Kendall completely dominated his foe toward the end, but could not overcome the big lead his opponent built up early on. Kendall lost by five points to his Costa Rican opponent.
Tafari’s bout stole the show. He boxed brilliantly and looked a likely winner, but came up just short.
Terence Spencer, president of the Cayman Islands Boxing Association, said: “Tafari fought so well, Team USA gave him a standing ovation as he left the ring and the coach from Team USA called me personally to commend Cayman for his bout.”
Tafari, 17, was the youngest boxer in his division and the entire region in the elite class.
There have been significant changes in amateur boxing.
The Amateur International Boxing Association has decided that the elite boxing age range is now 19 to 35, compared to the old range of 16 to 33. There also now is a 10 point must scoring system, same as the pros.
The former scoring system drew years of complaints from boxing federations, as many considered it took away from the overall value of the sport.
There will also be no headgear required, forcing fighters to be more engaging and defensive at the same time. The theory is that this, coupled with the 10 point scoring system, will now make more action-packed amateur bouts.
Other changing requirements include that hand wraps must be used instead of gauze and tape. There will also be five judges now instead of four and they will be seated randomly prior to the bout by a draw. Previously, the four judges had assigned seats.
A few weeks ago, local boxers performed their monthly demonstration outside the Glass House on Elgin Avenue in George Town, offering the public a closer look while also trying to pique the interest of additional sponsors.
“Sponsorship is sorely needed at the boxing gym,” Spencer said. “We really need equipment, national team uniforms and funds to travel to our event in Cuba for the next AIBA tournament.”