Cuban fighters close in on our lions

Cuba has a legendary amateur boxing program that countries worldwide try to emulate.

The Cubans guard the secrets to their success closely, so it was an honor for a group of Caymanians to be allowed to spend a few weeks in training camp there and also to compete in a couple of tournaments.

A connection was forged and the relationship continues this weekend with a boxing show at the Lions Centre with four top Cubans in action.

This show was initially planned as an open air affair at Pedro Castle, but considering how wet it has been recently, boxing association president Terence Spencer decided to change the venue.

The first two bouts will involve Extended After School participants. This has been a successful program and the kids are keen to show their skills.

The third bout pits two Cuban heavyweights against each other, Emmanuel Reyes Platt and Frank Sanchez.

The fourth bout is at light-welterweight between Cuba’s Luis Oliva Gener and Cayman’s lightning fast Kendall Ebanks. And the final bout is a bantamweight involving Norlan Yera Diaz and Cayman’s stylish teenager Tafari Ebanks.

Both Caymanians have gained extensive international experience during the past two years. They are not intimidated by the Cuban reputation, having trained there several times. They trained in Florida last month before competing in a tournament in Chile last week.

The event will feature a family friendly comedy show featuring Mark Simmonds (Def Comedy Jam, BET Comic View, Martin Lawrence-First Amendment Standup) put on by Laughter Lounge and also the Live viewing of the Floyd “Money” Mayweather mega-fight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez from Las Vegas.

Spencer said, “Our primary goal of this event is to ensure that we continue to cultivate and develop the best talent that we have to ensure that come 2016, Olympic glory will become a reality.”

He added, “Cuba is as best as it gets in this sport and it’s an honor that they are coming here when they could have gone anywhere else in the world given their reputation.

“With all the people who came on board to support the event the boxing association is absolutely grateful for the assistance and the help to put everything together. Ultimately, this event is designed to honor Mr. Dalmain Ebanks, who is the father of the sport in the Cayman Islands and I am sure he will be there in spirit routing for Cayman with his flag in hand.”

General admission is $25 and tickets are available from the D. Dalmain Ebanks boxing gym, CashWiz, Cayman Cabana or contact [email protected] or call 326-4510. For VIP ringside, contact [email protected]