Cayman boxers set for Caribbean championships

Members of Cayman Islands Boxing Team with CIBA President Leyla Jackson (third from left) and coach Ryan Barrett (third from right).

A confident team has arrived in St Lucia to represent the Cayman Islands at the Caribbean Development Boxing Tournament from 13 to 15 December, with the head coach predicting at least eight medals from his fighters.

Speaking to ahead of the team’s departure, Ryan Barrett said he’s optimistic about the performance the boxers will have at the regional championships based on the training they’ve had in recent months.

“The morale in the gym is good, everyone has pulled together nicely, and the coaches have done their job. It’s now down to the draw and taking care of business in the ring,” Barrett said.

The dozen-strong athlete delegation is four times larger than the three fighters who made the trip to Barbados last year. Returning is Dariel Ebanks, who won gold at lightweight in 2016 but is moving down to middleweight as he tunes up for the Commonwealth Games next April. Bantamweight Alexander Smith at 18 years-old makes his second trip to the championships.

The rest of the team is made up of fighters making their first bid at this level. “This is what I’ve been waiting for,” said 21-year-old Brandy Barnes, one of three female boxers representing Cayman.

“I feel ready, I feel confident. The last week since we have been home has not been as hard as in London but just keeping us ready,” said Barnes, who trained under Barrett’s guidance in England for two months with Ebanks and Smith.


Meantime, Diego Rodriguez, who put in time at the Dalmain Ebanks Boxing Gym getting ready for his debut at the Caribbean event, was just as eager to step into the ring in St Lucia.

“I’m 100 percent excited and going there to give it my best. I just want to stay committed all the way and stay focused,” the 20-year-old said, adding that he is hoping to rely on groundwork laid by former national coach Norman Wilson.

“It means a lot to me to be able to represent the island and let the world see the level of talent that is coming from this island. My only hope in St Lucia is to win each and every round, win each bout and come back with a gold medal,” Rodriguez said.

Barnes, a light flyweight, shared a similar outlook for herself. “At least a silver medal. Gold is the top goal but at least a silver.”

Another rookie, 16-year-old Keanu McField Jackson, was also eager to represent the Cayman Islands. “I feel pretty good and I think I’m good enough to fight down there and win my fights,” he told following his final training session on Sunday.


The full team is Males: Dariel Ebanks – middleweight; Alexander Smith –bantamweight; Eduardo Montalvo – light welterweight; Deandre Rowe – featherweight; Keanu McField-Jackson – light flyweight (Jr); Aaron Miller – bantamweight (Jr), Diego Rodriguez – lightweight; Thase Watler – light welterweight; and Romario Campbell. Females: Brandy Barnes – light flyweight; Chambria Dalhouse – flyweight; and Neandra Forbes-Morgan – featherweight.

Along with Barrett, Ernest Barnes is another coach making the trip. “Between the two of us, we’ll keep morale good, making sure the kids stay focused and know exactly what is required from them,” Barrett said. Cayman Islands Boxing Association president, Leyla Jackson, is also accompanying the team in St Lucia. will have more details upon the completion of the weigh-ins and the draw.


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