Two young boxers will represent Saint Lucia at the 5th Annual Winfield Braithwaite Caribbean Schoolboys & Junior Boxing Tournament, which will be held in Georgetown, Guyana, from August 26-28, 2022.
They are lightweight boxer Herve Charlemagne, 14, and middleweight boxer Kevert Similien, 17. The two young boxers left the island for Guyana on Wednesday morning (August 24) where they will join National Head Boxing Coach, Conrad Fredericks.
The tournament will be held at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall daily from 6:00 p.m., and participating countries are Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, The Bahamas, and Saint Lucia.
President of the St. Lucia Boxing Association (SLBA), David “Shakes” Christopher, says Saint Lucia has competed at every edition of the tournament.
“This tournament has been a major stomping ground for the St. Lucia Boxing Association, especially for boxers like Nathan Ferrari, Kareem Boyce, Gilchrist Medard, to name a few,” said Christopher. “Most of the young boxers who came through the ranks went to this tournament, where they really developed their craft. We’ve also always won medals at this championship. This is a very good stepping stone for our young boxers. So we want to wish our two young boxers the best at the tournament.”
National Head Boxing Coach, Conrad Fredericks, said young Saint Lucian boxers have always showed great effort at the Guyana tournament over the years.
“In the last year we competed in the tournament, we had two boxers and placed third overall among seven teams,” Fredericks said. “Only three of those countries won gold medals, including Saint Lucia, which won one gold and one silver medal.”
Fredericks added: “It’s a very tough tournament, but I always appreciate our young boxers competing because the standard is high. Our two boxers representing the island this year are relatively new to the sport, and it’s their first tournament. However, we will try our best to medal at the tournament.”
Assistant Coach, Hilary Dalson, said the two youngsters show great promise and he’s confident that they will give a good account of themselves in Guyana.
“Herve is very technical, and, in the ring, he uses all the technical skills that Coach Conrad and I train him to use. Kevert is more of a brawler type fighter. So I’m expecting great things from them in this tournament,” Dalson explained.
Dalson noted that the boxing programme at the Vigie Boxing Gym caters to male and female boxers – both juniors and seniors. He issued a call for more people to take up the sport.
“I wish more youths would show up at the boxing gym,” Dalson said. “We don’t have that many youths showing up consistently. But it’s a very good boxing programme we run here and you’ll see the fruits of it at this tournament. We also definitely need more female fighters coming to the gym. Whether they want to participate or not, we provide the training they need for the sport.”
Meanwhile, Charlemagne, the younger of the two boxers, stated that he gets inspiration from former British boxer Naseem Hamed alias Prince Naseem, who competed from 1992 to 2002, and held multiple featherweight world championships, including the WBO title from 1995 to 2000. Charlemagne joined the gym in November last year and is anxiously looking forward to his first bout.
“So far, I think I’m more physically fit and have seen much improvement compared to when I first joined the gym,” he said. “For this tournament, I’m just looking to go out and do my best. I want to win, but also want to give a great performance.”
The SLBA thanks everyone who has made it possible for our boxers’ participation at this year’s tournament, especially given the hike in airfares. Therefore, we thank Leslie Clarke from Domino’s Pizza, Dr. Stephen King, Baron Foods Ltd., 1st National Bank, Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, National Lotteries Authority. Special thanks also to Joseph “Reds” Perreira, former SLBA President, for his efforts in making it all happen.