Former heavyweight boxing champion and Hall of Famer Riddick Bowe will work with young Caymanian fighters during a visit to the island this month.
Bowe is the guest of honor at the Cayman Islands Boxing Association’s latest Fight Night event, featuring local fighters against a team from Panama.
He will also host “An evening with Riddick Bowe” on March 31 at the Marriott resort, where he will share stories of his career.
Bowe, of the United States, was one of the major figures in the world boxing scene throughout the 1990s, beating Evander Holyfield in 1992 to become the undisputed heavyweight champion. He was later stripped of the title, famously dumping his belt in a trash can after negotiations to fight the No. 1 contender Lennox Lewis broke down.
Bowe has led a colorful life, and spent 17 months in prison after being convicted in 1998 of kidnapping his estranged wife and their children, before making a comeback to the ring.
Mark Woollard, commercial manager for the Cayman Islands Boxing Association and one of the principals of Silverlight Sales which organizes the Fight Night events, said the visit promises to be an entertaining experience and a valuable learning opportunity for the island’s young boxers.
He said, “He has had an eventful life and I’m sure it is going to be very entertaining to hear some of his stories and for people to have the chance to ask him some questions.”
He said Bowe would visit the boxing gym before the event to work out with Cayman’s young fighters.
“They are going to have the opportunity to get up close and personal with a true world champion. Not many young boxers get that kind of opportunity. He will be very accessible to the boxers during the visit.”
The event comes on the heels of multiple world champion Manny Pacquiao’s visit to the Cayman Islands earlier this year.
The boxing event, Elite Marble and Granite Fight Night 4, takes place April 1 at the Lions Centre and will feature some of Cayman’s top boxers, including Dariel Ebanks, Hopkin Ebanks and Chambria Dalhouse against opponents from Panama.
Panama’s current female 75kg world champion Atheyna Bylon will also compete against Dominican boxer Maria Moronta in an action-packed night for the sport.
Mr. Woollard said boxing is growing in Cayman, with more than 100 youngsters now part of the after-school program and a core of dedicated young fighters training regularly.
Promising young fighters emerging from the program will be featured on the undercard at the event.
“One of our mandates is to try and work with at-risk youth,” Mr. Woollard said.
“We take kids from different backgrounds and try and teach them discipline and teamwork and respect through the sport of boxing.”