Dennis Thomas punched his way to the best boxer award, Imran Khan worked his fistic magic and the local pugilists continued their ring mastery of the visitors when the three-night, four-nation Goodwill Boxing Tournament concluded on Sunday.
In front of a sizable, raucous crowd at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, the Guyanese amateur boxers kept their guards up and ensured the coveted hardwares remained in the ‘Land of Many Waters’.
Thomas, who will represent Guyana at the South American Games in Chile next month, justified his selection by pounding out points wins over St. Lucian, Arthur Langelier (Friday night) and Jamaican, Michael Gardner in the fight of the tournament.
Gardner, a lightning quick southpaw, taught Thomas a boxing lesson in the first round with crisp right jabs and the occasional straight left but the local solved the Jamaican puzzle in the ensuing rounds of the 75kg bout.
In the second, the local policeman used his full arsenal, his reach, power punches and relentless pressure to corner the shorter opponent to draw even on the scorecards. The third round was an all-out brawl as both boxers stood toe to toe and traded blows much to the appreciation of the fans. Gardner however tired in the latter stages and that worked to Thomas’ advantages as he seized the opportunity to land his punches and eke out a split decision win. Guyana’s other representatives at the South American Games, Khan (60kg), Eon Bancroft (69kg) and Theresa London (75kg) were also at the top of the podium, so too was Bert Braithwaite.
Khan who is also a policeman, dodged the shots of Clairmont Gibson and Jamaican, Patrick Sahadeo to emerge winner of the division.
‘The Bomber’ Bancroft also dodged a bullet as he was adjudged winner of his division after a close encounter with St. Lucian, Lindell ‘The Russian’ Marcellin.
London was however the clear winner in her bout, unanimously defeating Trinidad and Tobago’s, Chimere Taylor over four rounds. Braithwaite outpointed Jamaican, Kestna Davis in a bloody battle in the 64kgs final. Local boxers, Michael April (52kg) and Delon Charles (56kg) also stood on the top podium spot in their respective divisions. President of the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA), Steve Ninvalle told this publication that the GBA was happy to play host to the three other nations and that the tournament was a massive success.
Notes: The new computerized scoring system which was controlled by AIBA certified referee/judge, James Beckles was utilized in the tournament. This competition marked the first time in Guyana that amateur fighters fought without headgear since AIBA changed its rules last year.