Dariel wins gold, Hopkin settles for silver

L-R: Hopin Ebanks, Dariel Ebanks, Alex Smith, Ryan Barrett, Donie Anglin. (Courtesy: CIBA)

National boxing team coach, Ryan Barrett, is not known to mince his words. Ahead of the Caribbean Boxing Development Tournament that wrapped up in Barbados on 10 December, Barrett said bluntly that Dariel Ebanks was going to win a gold medal. Those words turned out to be prophetic, as Ebanks outclassed the field to take home top honours.

The southpaw from West Bay defeated Barbadian Charles Cox in the final to claim the title.

“It was an intense three rounds with both boxers demonstrating skill and strength. Dariel’s experience and defensive moves were clearly apparent, despite taking a couple of hard knocks from Cox including a killer uppercut in the third round,” a Cayman Islands Boxing Association spokesperson noted in a release.

“It was a really tough fight, he (Cox) hits really hard but I’m really happy with the result,” Ebanks said.

Going into the fight, Ebanks told CaymanSportsBuzz.com he was confident about the outcome. “He’s a strong fighter. He stopped both the guys he fought but every fight is different. So, I’m going to go in there with my head on my shoulders and do what I do all the time – be the smarter fighter in the ring,” he said.

Also making the final in his division was Hopkin Ebanks. Returning to the ring a few weeks ago after a layoff, Ebanks advanced to the title bout after winning his first bout then getting a bye to the decider, where he met Jerone Ennis of Jamaica in the youth welterweight category.

“It was a very close bout with an even score and a point deduction for Jamaica for rule infringement, however, the judges awarded the bout to Jamaica, a decision which was unpopular with the audience,” the CIBA release noted.

“I am pleased with my performance. I think that I boxed well and I think that I was the winner of the bout. However that is boxing for you. I will keep working and bring home the gold next time,” Hopkin Ebanks said.

Another positive for the Cayman delegation was a landmark for Alexander Smith. The 17 year-old lost his opening bout to the experienced Christopher Moore of Guyana, dropping his amateur record to 0-4. However, he landed another chance in the ring in a bout arranged for developmental purposes. Smith picked up a win in that encounter, leading to an emotional moment afterward when the boxer dropped to his knees in celebration.

“I now know what it takes to win and will be building on this with my coach,” the young boxer said.

Smith has not had an easy ride since getting into competitive fighting earlier this year. He faced stiff competition from fighters from Canada, London and Jamaica in the months leading up to the tournament and constantly wins praise from Barrett.

Trainer Donie Anglin was also in Barbados with the team.

The boxer’s were not the only ones receiving awards at the competition, as CIBA’s President Ann-Marie Byrd and Vice President Leyla Jackson were presented with a plaque in recognition of their administration abilities.

“This is the first time that we have come to an AIBA International Tournament and performed at a medal level. We are so proud of the hard work that our boxers and coaches put in. The Association has worked really hard this year and made major changes including to our coaching staff, we are so pleased that this hard work and dedication is starting to pay off so tremendously,” Bird said.

The tournament was also an excellent experience for the administration with training for managers and coaches on the latest AIBA rules and executives meeting the AIBA President and Executive Director in meetings to discuss how to better develop boxing in the Caribbean region.

There is no rest for the boxers though. They will be honing their skills on national soil in the Island Rumble Boxing Challenge hosted by Manny Pacquiao on 7 January at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.

CaymanSportsBuzz.com will have more on the boxers’ performance in Barbados in the coming days.



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