Amateur night: Young pugilists show their mettle

Ision Fraser connects with a right to Shamar Goodridge.
Ision Fraser connects with a right to Shamar Goodridge.

Several young boxing tyros got the opportunity to show off their emerging prowess when the Barbados Boxing Association staged its Lionel Hall/Carlton Hope Memorial Boxing Tournament at the Queen’s Park Steel Shed on Saturday night.

At the end of the eight bouts staged it was a case of saving the best for last as Guyana’s Joel Williamson and Barbados’ Ricardo Blackman Jr. of the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme engaged in the most stirring battle for the night.

The two evenly matched flyweights showed promising technique and movement as they traded punches during the fast-paced three rounds. Blackman Jr. demonstrated a good left lead which often found its mark but seldom followed up with a right hand combination. His failure to do that was recognised by Williamson who often tried to slip the punch and follow up with his own left in the knowledge that no combination was coming. He counter-punched better than his opponent but Blackman Jr. appeared to land the heavier blows. But truth be told, there was little to choose between the two.

The evening started off with a pin-weight contest between Iwesika Austin from the Belfield Gym and Ahkel Harewood of Thunderbird Gym. Austin, the shorter of the two, basically utilised a sweeping overhand right to keep off an onrushing Harewood. He landed on a couple of occasions, solidly, while Harewood seldom used his height advantage to jab consistently and score more points. The fight could have gone to either fighter but in the end Austin came away with the win.

Guyana’s Junior Henry could consider himself very unfortunate not to get the decision against Jabali Breedy from the National Gymnasium in their 50 kg light-flyweight contest. Henry was technically the better boxer and landed the more solid punches, including a pinpoint right cross in the second round and then an overhand right in the third that landed flush on the face of Breedy. But Henry was too content on counter-punching and hardly took the fight to Breedy. Breedy was fast and showed a lot of excellent movement but the judges seemed swayed by his work ethic and high number of punches thrown. But many, if not the majority of these were either picked off, or landed on the defensive gloves of Henry. Henry showed more willingness in the third round to attack but by this time Breedy’s flash and dash had done their job on the judges.

Orin Brancroft of Guyana and Ajayi Jones of the Briar Hall Gym swung frequently at each other and missed just as frequently in their flyweight battle. Bancroft was eventually awarded the decision.

Featherweight Ision Fraser from the National Gym outclassed Gym-mate Shamar Goodridge in their 64kg battle. Fraser landed some telling blows, especially in the second round, and one particular barrage led to Goodridge getting a standing eight-count in the second round. The decision was obvious long before the final bell.

Thunderbird Gym’s Jamal Piggott was the first fighter of the night to concentrate much of his attack on the body and Antonio Rollins of the Briar Hall Gym received plenty of them during their middleweight bout. The more the blows to the body the lower Rollins’ gloves went and Piggott then took his attack upstairs. This was an easy decision for the judges to call.

Light welterweight Ch’vanni Forde of the Thunderbird Gym easily defeated a seemingly reluctant Stevenson Lythcott who scarcely took the offensive to his opponent. Against a harder puncher he might not have finished the fight on his feet.

Shaquille  Goring didn’t finish the fight on the floor and he can thank the referee for this. He was simply outboxed by Cabral Foster, son of well-know tourism official Hugh Foster, during their middleweight bout. The fight was stopped in the second round after Goring had had two standing eight-counts and was ripe for a third.

Foster, though, will have to be mindful in future bouts. Each time he attempted a right cross he telegraphed it by dropping his left lead and a more perceptible rookie would have capitalised on it. Fortunately, Goring was not physically up to par with the more powerful Foster. (WG)

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