Ebanks headlines squad for Caribbean championships

Ebanks is looking for back-to-back-gold medals (Cayman Sports Buzz file photo)

Southpaw Dariel Ebanks, who won a gold medal at light heavyweight at the 2016 Caribbean Development Boxing Tournament, is scheduled to fight in another weight class as he headlines a seven-member team named by the Cayman Islands Boxing Association for the 2017 edition of the competition.

Ebanks, 28, has been in training camp in London for the past month. He moves down to middleweight for the tournament in St Lucia.

Making his second trip to the regional championships is 19-year-old bantamweight Alexander Smith, who is also gaining valuable ring experience in camp with Ebanks. Other boxers, who have been training locally have been named on the team: Diego Rodriguez (lightweight), Deandre Rowe (featherweight), Thase Watler (light welterweight), Aaron Miller (bantamweight-junior) and Keanu McField-Jackson (light flyweight – junior).

Three female boxers have been selected for the 11-17 December Caribbean championships. Brandy Barnes, a 21-year-old light flyweight has also been training under the watchful eye of national team coach Ryan Barrett at the camp based at Gumshield Gym in South London.

The other females are flyweight Chambria Dalhouse, who represented the Cayman Islands at the Commonwealth Youth Games in July, and 14-year-old Neandra Forbes Morgan, who will feature at featherweight.

 

The 10-member team is a sizeable increase from the three fighters sent to the tournament in Barbados last year.

For many of them, this will be their first opportunity to box at an international level and the Championships will be an excellent platform for them to represent Team Cayman, assess their skills and gain crucial competition exposure in a developmental setting,” said CIBA president Leyla Jackson

The squad was announced a week after the association’s Night of Champions that featured six of the boxers selected. International consultant James Beckles of Trinidad and Tobago was brought in with funding from Elite Marble and Granite “to work with us, to try and improve/modernise and restructure the programme over the last three weeks”, Jackson said.

She said Beckles had the opportunity to see many of the young boxers in action at the Night of Champions event and assisted the local association in putting together the team for the Caribbean championships.

She added that opponents are also being sought for Aldene ‘Jr’ Forbes-Morgan, who at 12-years-old is too young for the competition but the association is keen for him to gain international experience.

 

Not making it to the championships is Hopkin Ebanks, who on short notice picked up a silver medal as a welterweight last year. He has also been in the London training camp but his focus is on getting in peak condition for the Commonwealth Games in Australia next April.

Meantime, Jackson said development opportunities extend beyond the boxers. She said CIBA board member Ernest Barnes is also hoping to enhance his skills by attending the coaching course being provided at the Caribbean Development Boxing Tournament, while Rogerio Pitta is training towards his 1* AIBA Referee and Judges Qualification course.

The CIBA president thanked the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee and Elite Marble and Granite for the opportunity to send the team to the championships and added that the association is still seeking sponsorship opportunities to send additional athletes.

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