Cayman boxers fly to Bahamas to compete in tournament

Cayman’s boxers are travelling beyond their borders to sharpen their fighting skills.

The Cayman Islands Boxing Association has sent a group of five boxers to compete in a tournament in the Bahamas this week in the hopes of gaining some hands-on experience.

The group includes youngsters Leah Lajat and Charlie Lopez-Nixon in addition to light flyweight Brandy Barnes, welterweight Hepseba Angel and middleweight Jon-Mikol Rankin. Rankin will be making his boxing debut, while Lajat will be fighting outside Cayman for the first time in her life.

Leyla Jackson, president of the boxing association, said trips like this are important for Cayman’s boxers.

“It’s really crucial for them to get these developmental bouts and build their record,” she said. “People in bigger countries, like the USA or England, are boxing every weekend. Aside from the boxing side, just having the chance to travel and experience different things is an amazing developmental opportunity.”

The boxers are scheduled to leave Cayman late Tuesday night, and the tournament is expected to take place from Wednesday through Saturday. Jackson said that Cayman’s boxers are pointing toward the Caribbean Championships, which will be held in Trinidad and Tobago from 5 Dec. to 9 Dec.

Toward that end, she said, they need all the international experience they can get.

“One of the things we struggle with the most on island is being able to get sufficient numbers of bouts,” she said. “When you’ve got a really small population and a really small national team, it’s hard to make appropriate matchups, especially for the females, because there just isn’t anybody else in their weight category on island. They can do sparring, but they’re just sparring the same people all the time.”