Amateur boxing made a welcome return after a long absence at the Dalmain Ebanks gym on Saturday afternoon.
For only $5, supporters watched six competitive bouts, an exhibition, two workout demonstrations and were even entertained by the Tyshanti Scott dance “troupe.”
Coaches Nayon “Donie” Anglin, Rogerio Pitta and Chad Scott did a fine job in preparing the national team and after-school kids for this event.
Proceeds will go to Hopkins Ebanks, the 16-year-old light-welter who has been selected by the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee to compete in the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa in September.
Ebanks is cousin to the national team captain Tafari Ebanks and also looks set for a glittering career.
Hopkins fought Shawn Rankine on this show and won unanimously on points in a hard-fought contest. Both boxers compete in Aruba next month.
The first round was fast and frenetic, with Ebanks setting the pace, swarming the technically better Rankine, who used his defensive skills cleverly.
Ebanks continued the assault in the second round, forcing a standing count from referee Michael “Bobby” Peart. Rankine looked exhausted and seemed incapable of lasting the third round but somehow managed to battle through the pain and tiredness to last the third, although Ebanks took to showboating at times.
Ebanks tends to get caught with punches too easily and must improve his footwork. There was no doubting his punching ability though, and all-round toughness. Rankine caught him with some massive shots but he just walked through them to land his own bombs.
It was a fitting finale to a marvellous bout and an admirable endorsement of the work president Anne-Marie Byrd and vice-president Leyla Jackson have put in, as well as all the others involved in bringing the kids along.
Bernie Bush, treasurer of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, was the entertaining emcee. Judges were Troy O’Neil, Kelly Pope and Angel Almanza. MLAs Al Suckoo and Arden McLean attended. Suckoo has a long association with the boxing club and was presented with a plaque of appreciation by coach Anglin.
First bout was between Christopher Jocson and Danai Pusey. Jocson started fast, giving his taller opponent a standing count in the first round. Pusey kept his composure and fought back well, finishing stronger to give Jocson two standing counts in the third to take a unanimous decision.
Damari Goddard has the look of a seasoned fighter, beating Duran Pearson comfortably on points with some stylish shots in the next contest.
Coach Anglin’s little protege, Zachary Watler, aged 6, gave a demonstration on the mitts, much to everyone’s amusement, especially when the kid “knocked out” the trainer.
In the next bout, Rashawn Powery’s power was too much for the more skillful, but slightly built Brandon Cunha who was stopped in the third round.
After a slow start, Brandon Baker took control against Joshua McLean, crashing in big shots from all angles to win easily on a unanimous decision after a brave, but over-matched opponent.
Then coach Anglin gave another pad demonstration with Monique Barnett and Jessica Richards.
Eduardo Montalvo was involved in a slugfest with the stockily built Fernando Marrero in another all-action fight. Montalvo won on points after three thrilling rounds.
Gino “Bonecrusher” Brown boxed an exhibition bout with Danai Pusey before the Ebanks-Rankine showpiece.
President Byrd said that the association needs to raise at least $4,000 to send Ebanks to Cuba for six weeks of training before he goes to Miami for more intensive coaching and sparring.
The next show is scheduled for June 27.