Cayman’s boxers shone during their moment in the spotlight Saturday, reveling in a rare opportunity to show their skills in front of a near sell-out crowd at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
Eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao may have been the main draw for the bulk of the estimated 3,400 spectators at the Island Rumble event, but it was Cayman’s talented amateur fighters who provided the real action in the ring.
Teenage middleweight Hopkin Ebanks stopped his Bahamian opponent in the first round in the briefest, but one of the most entertaining fights of the night.
Ebanks, who took silver in the Caribbean Development Boxing Tournament in Barbados last year, said he was pleased to perform so well in front of such a large home crowd in his first fight in the Cayman Islands in more than a year.
“Hopkin’s back baby,” he told the media after a first-round technical knockout win over Cameron Sweeting.
He said he wasn’t phased by the size of the crowd or the prospect of performing with Manny Pacquiao in the front row.
“The crowd never really get to me. I know this is my home town – if it was a different way it would feel different, but everyone is showing love out here and I had no reason to be nervous,” he said.
Chambria Dalhouse provided another big win for the Cayman Islands, beating Jamaican Kerron Thomas on points in the only female fight of the night. The pair traded blows over three two-minute rounds in the super featherweight bout.
Dan Hewitt-Dean was not so lucky as he squared off against Davian Smith of the Bahamas in a light heavyweight contest. He was stopped in a second-round TKO.
The final competitive fight of the night was canceled as the rain came down just after midnight.
Dariel Ebanks, who took gold in the Caribbean Boxing Development Tournament in Barbados, was scheduled to feature against Bahamian Israel Johnson.
But the bout was called off as a heavy storm made fighting in the open-air ring impossible.
The ring was set up on the football field at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, with VIP seating on all sides, and the main grandstand filled with fans.
The evening kicked off with two “white collar” fights.
James Burch of Walkers faced Logan Chinoy of Cayman Fight Factory in a bout to raise money for the Hart for Hearts charity. That match was declared a tie. Simon Hurry from Collas Grill beat Lee Murray of Andro Group on points in the night’s other white collar fight.
Pacquiao made a brief appearance midway through the night to address the crowd and sat ringside as the action unfolded, signing autographs and talking to fans.
Island Rumble results
White collar fights
- James Burch tied with Logan Chinoy
- Simon Hurry beat Lee Murray, points decision
- Chambria Dalhouse (Cayman) def Kerron Thomas (Jamaica), points decision
- Hopkin Ebanks (Cayman) def Cameron Sweeting (Bahamas), first-round TKO
- Davian Smith (Bahamas) def Dan Hewitt-Dean (Cayman), second-round TKO