Fireworks in the ring at Night of Champions

CIBA's Night of Champions featured six action-packed bouts.

Young rising stars, along with a couple of established fighters, showcased their skills in exhibition bouts at the Cayman Islands Boxing Association’s Night of Champions at the Dalmain Ebanks Boxing Gym on Sunday, 29 November.

The six bouts on the card featured mostly boxers eager to get some exposure in the ring, as the association prepares to select its team for the Caribbean Championships in St Lucia next month.

The card opened with Junior Forbes Morgan and Sabien Barnes with a brief demo of their skills before Caelen Chisholm and Deandre ‘GQ’ Rowe stepped between the ropes for a 60kg bout. Rowe was the more active of the pair and it was no surprise as he walked away with a unanimous decision victory.

Next up was a 60kg female fight between Chambria Dalhouse and Neandra Forbes-Morgan. This one got the crowd buzzing as both fighters didn’t hesitate in throwing punches. Dalhouse, who competed at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the summer, was the more seasoned of the two and showed superior control in the ring. 13-year-old Forbes-Morgan didn’t let that deter her, as she answered with a few solid rights that left Dalhouse searching for answers. In the end, it was a split decision in Dalhouse’s favour.

Despite the loss, Forbes-Morgan, a John Gray High School student, was upbeat and excited about getting a chance to step between the ropes in front of a crowd again, albeit a small one. “The fight was kind of hard. It was tiring but okay in the end,” she said.

Chambria Dalhouse has shown great promise in the ring.

One of Cayman’s most exciting fighters in Eduardo Montalvo, a Cuban transplant, featured in the next fight against young Aaron Miller. If the previous fight was the appetizer, this was surely the main course, as it turned out to be a slugfest that kept the crowd buzzing and urging on both fighters.

After eating enough power punches to the body and head, Miller survived a standing eight-count but with this being an exhibition and the young fighter’s promising future ahead of him, Miller’s corner abandoned the fight at the start of the third round.

Young Miller from North Side shared his thoughts with afterward. “It was pretty difficult,” he said. “My strategy was to outbox him but after I felt his power, my survival instinct kicked in and I wore out myself pretty early.”

Aaron Miller got a tough test but isn’t deterred going forward.

However, he is upbeat about what the future holds for him. “I’m learning my range, my technique and how to throw my punches and land them effectively. I’m pretty pleased because I just started, and the association saw my potential and gave me one of the best fighters to face,” Miller added.

Up next, Anthony Lawrence and Diego Rodriguez had their turn to show what they were made of. From the opening bell, both appeared intent on landing a knockout punch rather than showcasing tactical skill.

Rodriguez, 20, once hailed as the next star of Cayman boxing, showed he still had the potential to be something special, wearing down Lawrence through the first round and a half. Lawrence, being a bit out of shape eventually gave in during the second standing eight given to him by visiting ref Linus Browne of Trinidad and Tobago.

“It was pretty good, a nice experience and I enjoyed it doing what I love,” Rodriguez said. “It always feels good to be back in the ring; it feels like home.”

All’s Good: Diego Rodriguez and Anthony Lawrence pose for a photo op after their fight.

West Bay’s Rowe returned to the ring for a second time as a last-minute stand-in to face Thase Watler in the final bout. Maybe two fights were a bit much for him or maybe it was Watler’s day, as the youngster from North Side earned a split decision.

On hand and in the corner for some of the fighters was national team coach Ryan Barrett, who was back on island for the event and taking a break from a training camp with some of Cayman’s top amateurs in London.

“I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen here tonight. Like I’ve said, I came here knowing there is a lot of hidden talent and it’s time to prove it. They have proved it tonight and back in September (at the Family Fun Day),” Barrett said.

“There are gems who have not been given the chance yet but now they are getting a full quota [of fights] and full exposure. I’m so proud of them from the little ones to the others who filled in at the last minute today.”


The former professional world titlist was upbeat about the upcoming Caribbean championships. “We’ve got a team for a lot of these Caribbean islands and other nations to be fearful of. We’ll get medals at these major tournaments; I’ll assure you of that,” he said. “If we take a team of seven or eight boxers, we could be coming back home with seven to eight medals. If I’m not coming back with that, I won’t be far from it.”

The event also provided additional experience for local referees and judges as they build experience for larger competitions at home and overseas.

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