Three boxers from Cayman represented the islands in top fashion last week, with victories at the Caribbean Championships in Barbados.
Dariel Ebanks won the Elite Men’s Light Heavyweight title, Hopkin Ebanks won silver in the Youth Welterweight division, and Alexander Smith claimed his first amateur win.
Fifteen countries from across the region competed in open boxing across different weight categories and experience levels.
After beating Jamaica’s hottest prospect, Ian Darby, in the qualifying rounds, Dariel, the Cayman Islands Boxing Association’s most experienced boxer, fought Charles Cox, the captain of the Barbados team, in front of a tough home crowd.
“It was an intense three rounds with both boxers demonstrating skill and strength,” a CIBA press release said. “Dariel’s experience and defensive moves were clearly apparent, despite taking a couple of hard knocks from Cox, including a killer uppercut in the third round, he was awarded the win on points, earning him a gold medal for his weight category.”
Dariel said, “It was a really tough fight. He [Cox] hits really hard, but I’m really happy with the result.”
Hopkin Ebanks, who had only two weeks to train before the tournament, fought Jerone Ennis of Jamaica in the Youth Welterweight final.
“It was a very close bout with an even score and a point deduction for Jamaica for rule infringement. However, the judges awarded the bout to Jamaica, a decision which was unpopular with the audience. Hopkin was awarded a silver medal,” the CIBA press release states.
Hopkin said he was pleased with his performance. “I think that I boxed well, and I think that I was the winner of the bout. However, that is boxing for you. I will keep working and bring home the gold next time.”
Seventeen-year-old Alex Smith, who has represented Cayman both nationally and internationally in three previous bouts, fought Christopher Moore of Guyana and lost on points. Moore went on to win gold in his weight category. Alex subsequently boxed a second special bout for developmental purposes and won, “giving him his first taste of victory, taking his record to 1-4,” CIBA said in the press release.
“I now know what it takes to win and will be building on this with my coach,” Alex said.
The boxers were not the only ones recognized with awards at the competition. CIBA President Ann-Marie Byrd and Vice President Leyla Jackson were presented with a plaque in recognition of their administrative abilities.
Byrd said, “This is the first time that we have come to an AIBA International Tournament and performed at a medal level. We are so proud of the hard work that our boxers and coaches put in. The association has worked really hard this year and made major changes, including to our coaching staff. We are so pleased that this hard work and dedication is starting to pay off so tremendously.”
The tournament also offered training for managers and coaches on the latest AIBA rules, and executive meetings to discuss how to better develop boxing in the Caribbean region.