Amateur boxing returned in a big way Saturday (29 June) as the Cayman Islands Boxing Association (CIBA) topped Trinidad & Tobago Boxing Association (TTBO) at Elite Marble & Granite’s ‘Fight Night 5’ held at the D. Dalmain Ebanks Boxing Gym.
Overall, CIBA scored four of six wins including victories from all three boxers – Leah Lajat, Jaden Eccelston and Hepseba Angel – making their amateur debuts. Cayman’s two marquee boxers – defending two-time Light Flyweight Caribbean champion Brandy Barnes and former Caribbean gold medalist Alexander Smith – would fall in the evening’s feature fights.
“I think the fight came out well, and I think the event came out well,” said CIBA Head Coach Floyd Trumpet. “I am a little disappointed in our senior boxers, but I think we have a bright future ahead of us.”
Women’s Flyweight : 51KG
Faith Ramnath (TTO) def Brandy Barnes (CAY) via split decision.
Fighting at Lightweight for just the second time in nine amateur bouts, Cayman’s Brandy Barnes could not muster enough offense or energy to defeat Trinidad and Tobago’s Faith Ramnath in the main event of ‘Fight Night 5’. A combination of endless energy and crisp combinations from the Trini kept Barnes regularly on the move, and on the ropes. Ramnath improves to 17-4 with the win.
“Brandy was a very good opponent,” said Ramnath. “It was kind of challenging, but with the hard work I put out, I was able to compete and win.”
Barnes (4-5) falls to 2-3 in her last five bouts, and will now shift her focus to regional competition.
“I am going to take a break, and then try to get some more bouts of equal competition,” said Barnes. “My goal is to gain more experience and confidence in the ring.”
Men’s Bantamweight: 57KG
Mike Inniss (TTO) def Alexander Smith(CAY) via split decision
In the co-main event, a return to the ring for Cayman’s Alexander Smith was spoiled in a split decision loss to Trini Mike Inniss. Evenly matched on paper, Inniss used a mix of good combinations and movement to land with ease on the returning Smith. The 19-year-old Caymanian – although fluid and fit with his footwork – could not find the range with enough regularity to notch a victory. With the win, Inniss improves to 17-4.
“In the beginning, I didn’t know what to do,” said Smith. “I realized he was an outside, in-and-out boxer, and I decided to counter fight him. When I started doing that, I had the upper hand on him. I was really waiting for him to get in, so I put some good upper cuts and hooks on him which I did, and I came out on top.”
Smith (8-5) says he was pleased with his effort.
“I was happy about the fight,” said Smith. “I could have done better.”
Men’s Light Welterweight: 64KG
Eduardo Montalvo (CAY) def Blessings Waldropt (TTO) via unanimous decision.
A fight of the night candidate saw reigning Light Welterweight Caribbean champion Blessings Waldropt (25-7) square off against Eduardo ‘Tito’ Montalvo (4-4). The Cuban-born Cayman Islands national controlled large parts of this action-packed tilt, reeling off fast combinations with flare and flash over three energetic rounds en route to a unanimous decision win.
“It was a little rough, I had to throw a lot of punches,” said Montalvo. “He is strong, I felt every punch he hit me with, and I did my best. I defeated the Caribbean champion, which shows anything is possible. I may move down a weight class or stay at Light Welterweight. Some day I will turn pro, but right now I want to represent the Cayman Islands.”
Montalvo improves to 5-4, while the 17-year old Waldropt falls to 25-8.
Women’s Middleweight: 75KG
Hepseba Angel (CAY) def Kenisha Clarke (TTO) via unanimous decision
It was a successful debut for 18-year-old Hepseba Angel who scored a unanimous decision win in her first amateur bout over 28-year old Trini Kenisha Clarke (0-2). The Caymanian middleweight controlled much of the bout, finding a home for her left-hand jab consistently over three rounds.
“I didn’t expect to push myself that much, but I’m glad I came out on top,” said Angel. “Whenever I got tired, the crowd kept me pushing. I heard everyone yelling at me which pushed me forward. I am glad everyone was rooting for me.”
Head Coach Floyd Trumpet chose wisely when he nicknamed Angel ‘No Joke’.
Men’s Super Heavyweight: 91KG
Jaden Eccleston (CAY) def Haquille Defreitas (TTO) via third-round referee stoppage
The ‘Mad Slug’ Jaden Eccleston brought the crowd to their feet with a third-round finish of Trini Haquille Defreitas. As the dueling leviathans burst out their corners to exchange big shots in the first, Eccleston proved to be the better conditioned fighter outlasting the Trini in just his second amateur bout. The 20-year old CIBA national consistently landed powerful combinations while circling out of range to tire Defreitas in the opening two rounds. In the third, Eccleston walked down the six-footer, proceeding to pound the Trini into the corner when referee James Beckles called a stop to the bout.
“I am very grateful to all my coaches who encouraged me,” said Eccleston. “It’s an honour to represent the Cayman Islands, and it’s just the start. I’d like to continue as a boxer, and I am thankful to all the people who supported and believed in me. I had to put on a show for them.”
Women’s Bantamweight: 54KG
Leah Lajat (CAY) def Shawnelle Hamid (TTO) via walkover
Although it will go down in the record books as a win, CIBA newcomer Leah Lajat was baptized by fire against a longer and heavier Trinidad & Tobago’s Shawnelle Hamid. The 15-year-old won via walkover when Hamid failed to make weight. However, with a combined two amateur fights between the two, officials opted to let the girls fight in an exhibition as in-ring experience.
Although thoroughly outmatched by Hamid’s size, reach and speed, the 15-year old Lajat won the respect of the crowd by pushing through all three rounds in spite of absorbing numerous combinations that left her visibly rocked and rattled.
“I was super nervous, and I wanted to cry,” said Lajat. “Moving forward, I want to practice more, and work harder. Now, I know my weaknesses. You have to be mentally prepared to take the hits and fight back.”
Cayman’s amateurs will get back into the ring in three weeks time hosting boxers from Texas, Trinidad and Tobago and Bermuda at the ‘Bringing Back The Glory’ Sports Festival slated for 18-20 July.