Since arriving in May as the Cayman Islands’ Boxing Association development manager, Liam Brereton has been focussing on improving the skills of local boxers, with specific plans for Cayman’s prospects Brandy Barnes and the ‘gutsy’ Hepseba Angel.
“I have a very exciting plan in place for the two girls,” Brereton told the Cayman Compass.
The AIBA 3-star certified coach from Edenderry, Ireland, has produced an abundance of young female champions across the UK, Canada and Germany throughout his 20-plus years of experience. Brereton said he wants another champion to add to his resume, this time from the Cayman Islands.
“I’ve had a lot of success with female boxers,” he said. “She’s (Barnes) only 25, and in female boxing, if you go back to the 2018 world championships, out of all the medalists, most of them were 27 to 30 years of age. I return to Ireland on 26 Aug., and Brandy Barnes will be coming with me. She will be spending five weeks in Ireland in a solid training camp. Hepseba won’t be because she has one more semester to do in school.”
Brereton hopes by taking Barnes to his home country, she will get the much-needed experience to elevate her to the next level of her boxing career.
“I genuinely think if we get to the Commonwealth Games, with a programme in place and get the right draw, one of these girls can grab a medal,” he said. “I don’t do negativity; I am not going there to participate. [With] the right programme in place for these girls, Cayman Islands can be celebrated.”
To make the podium at one of the biggest competitions in the region, Brereton said he is aiming to keep the women’s fight schedule active.
“I will gear up the girls along with the lads to the Caribbean Championships (in December) and then after Christmas I will return to Ireland again with the two of them,” he said. “Then we plan to go to the Golden Girls competition in Sweden for the first week in February.”
Angel, who is undefeated at 3-0 with a knockout to her credit, was praised by Brereton for her resilience in the ring.
“When [I] go into a gym, I look for one thing in a boxer and that’s stomach, the person that has the guts, and this girl is something different, she is special. I know she can fight, but I want to [teach] her how to box.”
In addition, according to Brereton, CIBA is working towards getting both Barnes and Angel a monthly stipend, which is expected to materialise in the coming months.