(CMR) On Sunday 10th November 2019 the boxing delegation representing the Cayman Islands Boxing Association (CIBA) at an invitational hosted by the Bahamas Boxing Federation, returned to Island.
The Cayman Islands' team performed extremely well in the tournament with Jon-Mikol (“JJ”) Rankin performing exceptionally in his international debut against his Bahamian opponent. After starting the first round with crisp jabs, he went on to deliver some hard combinations which resulted in two standing eight counts for his opponent. The end came when he delivered a classic jab-straight- right- uppercut to the body and the referee stopped the contest with the win for Cayman.
Also bringing home the a win for Cayman was female youngster Hepseba Angel who boxed beautifully and demonstrated her adaptability to change tactics in the third round, bringing home a unanimous decision win.
Junior boxer Charlie Lopez-Nixon had his second international bout representing Cayman. He started off well, scoring in exchanges. According to international observers, Charlie demonstrated improvement since his first international bout in August 2019 but on this occasion, his opponent had the edge in experience and power and the bout was halted in the second round.
Unfortunately due to logistical reasons, Brandy Barnes and Leah Lajat were unable to be matched and so despite their training preparations, meeting their weights and registration criteria, they were unable to box.
The trip was a prelude to CIBA's most important annual event which is the Caribbean Championships in early December 2019. It is fundamental that boxers to build their records and experience ahead of an event like the Caribbean Championships because nothing beats experience to combat the pressure experienced by a novice boxer being in the ring in-front of a crowd for the first time. However, in Cayman where we have a small national team and small number of volunteers to organize events, it is a consistent struggle to provide boxing opportunities, in comparison to larger countries where there may be local boxing events several times per month. Therefore it is crucial to try and support regional invitationals such as the Bahamas tournament. Unfortunately, there are always logistical and organizational issues with the smaller tournaments and it is really disappointing that Brandy and Leah worked so hard in their preparations and CIBA incurred the cost for them to attend, but they were unable to box this time. However, it was extremely worthwhile that Jon-Mikol and Hepseba were able to boost their confidence with big wins ahead of the Caribbean Championships.
The boxers who will be participating in the Caribbean Championships in 2019 will be: Brandy Barnes, Hepseba Angel, Brianna Kerr, Jon-Mikol Rankin, Jaden Eccleston and Theodore Kelly Jr. Theodore will also act as an assistant coach for the delegation due to his appointment as a national coach earlier in 2019, training under Coach Trumpet as part of CIBA's ‘train the trainer' program. CIBA President Leyla Jackson has also been invited to officiate the tournament as one of two qualified International Technical Officials for the Caribbean region, alongside Trinidad and Tobago's Ria Ramnarine.
The trip was made possible due to funding provided by Elite Marble & Granite and the delegation was headed by national coaches Floyd Trumpet and Rogerio Pitta in addition to senior Elite boxer and athlete representative to the CIBA Board of Directors, Brandy Barnes.
What is particularly pleasing about the 2019 Caribbean Championships delegation is the equal gender participation, demonstrating significant growth in participation of females at all levels of Cayman's boxing representation in 2019. CIBA has demonstrated significant growth and development during 2019 and this would not have been possible without the support of private sponsors such as Elite Marble and Granite and Berman Fisher, in addition to the ongoing support provided by the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, Ministry of Sports and Department of Sports.