Back to London for top boxers

Dariel Ebanks and Brandy Barnes are gearing up for the Commonwealth Games.

Two boxers are heading back to London to get their fight games in top gear before representing the Cayman Islands at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in April.

Veteran Dariel Ebanks and female boxer Brandy Barnes, will be in London throughout the February and March at the ‘Elite Marble and Granite Training Camp’ in order to ensure that they are well prepared in terms of sparring and high-level competition prior to their departure to the Gold Coast, the Cayman Islands Boxing Association said Friday (19 January).

Both Barnes and Ebanks spent the months of October and November abroad at training camp prior to attending the Caribbean Championships in December.

For Barnes, the training camp really allowed her to progress her development as a boxer. “Being at training camp where you get to focus on becoming a better athlete without the stresses of day to day life, really helped me to focus and improve. The opportunity gave me the ability to win a gold medal at the Caribbean Championships,” the 21-year-old said.

“Heading into camp this time, I know what my weaknesses are and what I am going to be focusing on.”

Ernest Barnes in the corner with his daughter, Brandy.

Barnes is following in the footsteps of her father, former amateur boxer turned Association Board member and Coach, Ernest Barnes, who represented Cayman Islands at the Commonwealth Games in 1994.

“I am so happy that both my son, Sabien, and daughter are part of the programme now and I see the work that they put in and it reminds me of my training days when I was inspired by Mr. Dalmain Ebanks,” Barnes said.

“Boxing is one of my passions and to be able to pass on what I learned from him to my children and see them representing their country at this level, to see Brandy win an international gold medal…that makes me very proud,” he added.

Also getting the opportunity to attend international training camp for the very first time are 17 year-old boxers Aaron Miller and Keanu McField-Jackson.

“The Elite training camp will be an excellent experience for Aaron and Keanu. They got their first taste on international competition at the Caribbean Championships and they showed that they have the grit and determination to succeed. What they need now is practice and variety of sparring that will help to develop their skills and grow their confidence,” said national coach, Ryan Barrett.

Elite Fight Night postponed

Meantime, the Cayman Islands Boxing Association said it has once again pushed back the Elite Marble and Granite Fight Night against the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) that was scheduled for 27 January.

“Due to unforeseen delays in relation to the venue, clashes with Taste of Cayman and weather issues, this has now been postponed until the end of April, when all boxers will be available to participate, having returned from Elite training camp and the Commonwealth Games,” a statement from the association read.

This is the second time the event has been pushed back. It was originally scheduled for last October but focus was shifted to sending boxers off to a camp to get ready for the Caribbean Development Boxing Tournament in December, which serves as a regional championship for amateur fighters.

Title sponsor and CIBA Vice President Mike Laurenson said “We want our events to be set up professionally, just like our aim to professionalise everything that we do, quality takes time and we did not want the unavoidable delays, or the weather, to impact the quality of the event.”

Boxers who are unable to attend the training camp in London, they will be kept active with regular local bouts and will benefit from a Youth Leadership certification which will be running in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Toastmasters through the first quarter of the year.

Alexander Smith

Additionally, the association has announced that 18-year-old Caribbean Champion Gold medallist Alexander Smith, has started a three-month collaborative apprenticeship scheme between CIBA and The Security Centre, which is aimed at preparing young Caymanian athletes for the workplace by teaching them work-based skills in collaboration with the discipline and development of their training regime.

“As Cayman Islands Boxing Association is a certified Non-Profit Organisation, activities like these exiting events, educational opportunities and training camps, which propel our talented young athletes to future international competition, would not be possible without the assistance of our private sponsors and our team of dedicated volunteers.

“In the last six months, our travel needs have been funded by Elite Marble and Granite and the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee and we have additionally gratefully received corporate cash donations from The Security Centre, Revive and Rotary Central,” CIBA President Leyla Jackson said.

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