Three gold at Caribbean championships

Alexander Smith topped the podium in his bantamweight division.

Three Cayman Islands boxers stood atop the podium at the 2017 Caribbean Development Boxing Tournament in St Lucia, which ended Saturday night, 16 December.

Bantamweight Alexander Smith defeated Jeremiah Toussaint of Antigua and Barbuda in the first round on Thursday. In the finals on Friday, the 18-year-old fought Travis Stanislaus of St Lucia against in front of his opponent’s home crowd. He dropped the St Lucian to the canvas one minute into the first round and ending the bout with his first ever knock out.

Alexander Smith

“Coach Ryan Barrett said that the change in Alexander since he attended the Caribbean Championships last December and lost in the first round is tremendous. [Cayman Islands Boxing Association] attributes this to Alex’s excellent attitude, fitness and development at his London training camp,” the association stated in a release.

Another gold medallist fresh out of London training camp was light flyweight Brandy Barnes, daughter of coach and former Cayman team boxer Ernest Barnes. Barnes fought Iprecious Lythcott of Barbados on Friday night to win gold after outclassing the Barbadian over three rounds, demonstrating better conditioning and technique.

The third gold medal went to Chambria Dalhouse, who took down Angelique Quevado of Trinidad and Tobago when the referee stopped the contest in the second round of their flyweight contest. “Chambria, also a graduate of London training camp, dominated from the start to bring home the gold for Cayman,” said CIBA president Leyla Jackson, who accompanied the team.

Dalhouse and Barnes advanced directly to the finals due to the limited number of participants in their fields.

The third female boxer, 14-year-old Neandra Forbes Morgan, lost out on a gold medal with a narrow 3-2 split decision loss to Darriell Thomas of Grenada in their featherweight bout. “This was Forbes Morgan’s first ever proper matched bout and she demonstrated her talent and timing throughout, using combinations and her jab extremely effectively,” the CIBA release noted.

L-R: Neandra Forbes-Morgan, Brandy Barnes, Chambria Dalhouse.

Also in their international competition debut, Keanu McField Jackson (16), Aaron Miller (17) and Deandre Rowe (15) performed admirably against opponents (Rashad Holder of Barbados, Xavier Maclier of Cayenne and Waldropt Blessing of Trinidad and Tobago respectively) with more experience to earn themselves silver medals, the release added.

“For these boxers, seeing the level of international competition and understanding the discipline required to weigh in every day has been an eye-opening experience. Like Alex, if they stick with this discipline over the next 12 months, when we return to the Championships next year, these guys are absolutely capable of gold. They all showed heart, spirit and discipline to succeed as boxers,” Jackson said.

“The only disappointment of the tournament is to not be coming away with gold for Dariel Ebanks. He was easily the best and most experienced boxer in his weight category and should have had an easy ride to a gold medal. However, his performance just was not there on Thursday night when he did not effectively demonstrate his skills to the judges, instead just throwing his left hand throughout the bout and allowing his St Lucian opponent Keegan Morley to frustrate him with clinches,” she added.

However, Ebanks, who moved down from light heavyweight where he won gold last year to middleweight, looked to put the loss behind him as he prepares for the Commonwealth Games.

“I might have not gotten the win in my last fight but I’ll come back stronger next time. It’s a new weight class, so I’ll work on my errors and I’ll be back stronger and better,” the 28-year-old posted on Facebook on Sunday.

National coach Rogerio Pitta also participated in the tournament as an official, as he undertakes his AIBA referee and judging qualification.

Medal Summary: Alexander Smith, Chambria Dalhouse, Brandy Barnes (gold). Neandra Forbes Morgan, Keanu McField Jackson, Aaron Miller and Deandre Rowe (silver). Thase Watler, Diego Rodriguez, Romario Campbell (bronze).

The association thanked the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee and Elite Marble and Granite for their continued support, which made the trip possible.

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