Barrett proud of boxers despite defeats

Hopkin Ebanks | Dariel Ebanks (Cayman Sports Buzz file photo)

National boxing coach Ryan Barrett said he was extremely proud of the two fighters who represented the Cayman Islands at the 2017 AMBC Continental Championships in Honduras earlier in June.

Barrett, a former professional titlist, had high hopes for both Dariel “Super D” Ebanks and Hopkin Ebanks to qualify for the World Championships later in the summer. However, neither advanced from their opening bouts at the tournament in Tegucigalpa.

Fighting in the welterweight division (69kg), Hopkin Ebanks lost to world number three amateur Jose Gabriel Perez of Venezuela.

“Everyone was assuming that it would be a mismatch but Hopkin came through with flying colours and gave the guy a real torrid time. Hopkin lost the fight fair and square. I think the Venezuelan guy got the better shots that caught the judges’ eyes,” Barrett said in an interview with

Hopkin Ebanks

“I cannot fault Hopkin in the slightest. Every round, he did everything I asked of him. He stuck to the plan throughout the whole three rounds and came out of the ring fresh. He thought he had won and rightly so because he wasn’t a million of miles away from it,” he added.

The young West Bay fighter did not hang his head in shame, although he felt he did enough to win.

“It was a great experience getting to fight the third best in the world. My performance really showed what I have to give against somebody that good. Being in the ring with somebody that good make me feel good because it shows my potential has no limits,” said Hopkin Ebanks.

Meantime, Dariel Ebanks, was considered Cayman’s best bet to make it to the worlds, having an impressive run over the past 12 months, including a gold medal at the Caribbean Boxing Development Tournament in Barbados last December. However, the light heavyweight southpaw was on the wrong end of a close decision against Osmar Bravo Amador of Nicaragua in the 81kg division.

“It was a very close fight. The guy from Nicaragua did what we knew he would do: hit and run, hit and hold. Super D was catching him with some good shots but the other guys was firing more shots – not landing anything. Like we’ve seen in Dariel’s fights before, these guys don’t catch him with anything much,” Barrett assessed.

Pointing out that two European judges on the panel of five adjudicators scored in the Caymanian’s favour, Barrett said the result should have gone the other way. “I think he was hard-done by it. While I thought Hopkin had just lost, I thought Dariel had just won his fight,” he said.

The former WBU welterweight world champion said he told his fighters to hold their heads high despite the defeats they suffered in Honduras.

Ryan Barrett (file photo)

“From a small place like the Cayman Islands, to come to these kinds of championships and fight the world’s best, they showed that they are a not a million miles away from them in quality,” he said.

The coach said tournaments like this show the need for more quality competition for local fighters, who have to go into the ring against guys who are fighting 15-20 times a year in international competition.

The pair entered the tournament after an intensive eight-week training camp in London, where they faced regular sparring and competitive fights. Dariel Ebanks was named boxer of the night on two of the four cards he featured on in England. Thanks to sponsorship of Elite Marble and Granite, the camp was possible, and allowed the fighters to get some more action outside the twice-yearly cards hosted by the Cayman Islands Boxing Association.

Barrett admitted that while he was proud of Hopkin and Dariel, he felt bad to not take them to the world championships in Germany.

“To not get to go is a bit disappointing but I can’t ask for no more from my two fighters. They’ve been a credit [to the Cayman Islands Boxing Association]. I’m proud of them. They’ve done their absolute best. I couldn’t ask for any more from either of them,” he said.

The national team coach added that an invitation was extended to him and the boxers to join the United States team for their training camp to spar with their fighters ahead of the worlds. It was not yet clear if this opportunity would materialise.

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