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With a thrust geared towards developing ‘champion fighters’, Team Saint Lucia retained its hold on the Caribbean Champion of Champions Boxing Tournament with its second consecutive win, as the tournament concluded here last weekend.

Seven countries competed in the tournament at the Vigie Sports Complex from April 12 to 13.

As Saint Lucia sets to develop its cadre of young boxers, the team demonstrated a marked level of resilience, coordination and outstanding displays to top the points table, ahead of some more seasoned fighters from the other teams.

Team Saint Lucia amassed a total of 9 gold and 11 silver medals, on its way to an astonishing victory.

In the leadup to the tournament, more than 25 young boxers from the Vieux Fort and Castries gyms participated in a Preparatory Camp organized by the St Lucia Boxing Federation (SLBF), over the Easter weekend.

Team Saint Lucia celebrates its victory

While acknowledging major strides being made with Youth Development Programmes in Trinidad, Guyana, Antigua, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Barbados and the Bahamas, as well as in Saint Lucia, SLBF President David “Shakes” Christopher declared: “All these countries have submitted teams of young boxers for the upcoming tournament, and Saint Lucia is excited to give our young boys and girls the opportunity to match-up and get some ring time.”

He urged regional governments and the corporate sector to increase support for national boxing programmes, as they help create better citizens and potential champions.

Lauding the efforts of Saint Lucia’s young boxers, Christopher described this year’s tournament as a terrific event.

“We saw a lot of young boxers from the age of seven, eight and nine” compete in the tournament, he said.

He singled out the pugilistic prowess of a nine-year-old boxer who won the ‘Best School Boy’ Boxing title with “punches in bunches, skills and movements.”

Christopher noted that despite his diminutive size, the young boxer executed well.

“It shows boxing is getting where it wants to be…and the tournament was really nice,” he added.

Despite fielding a team that comprised several debutants, Guyana finished second overall in the Caribbean Champion of Champions Boxing Tournament.

Guyana finished level on points with Barbados for the silver medal spot, with five gold medals each – as the host nation ended atop the standings. Martinique rounded out the top four, with its two competing teams sharing the honours.

On the final night of the competition, Guyana ended with a record of three wins and a loss. Ryan Rogers defeated Shane Brandon of Martinique via referee stoppage in the second round.

Shaquan James forced a referee stoppage against Rayan Placid of Martinique in the first round. Alesha Jackman won via walkover after her scheduled Saint Lucian opponent failed to enter the squared circle.

On the individual side, Guyanese boxers Ryan Rogers copped the Best Junior Male award, while Abiola Jackman walked away with the Best Elite Female accolade. – By Reginald Andrew

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