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Bruisin' Gym the most outstanding at nat'l champs
Leroy Brown, Gleaner Writer
A bold gamble by Jamaica Boxing Board president William Tavares-Finson to stage an open national championships, anchored by novice class boxers, paid rich dividends last weekend, as 65 boxers from six gyms competed and produced two exciting nights of competition for an enthusiastic and boisterous crowd of mostly young spectators.
The championships, which were sponsored by Burger King and Wisynco, started last Friday night with 14 fights at the Stanley Couch Gym and ended with 22 on Saturday at the Girl Guides headquarters on Waterloo Road, St Andrew.
When the action ended near midnight on Saturday, Bruisin' Gym from Stony Hill was voted the Most Outstanding Gym.
Three boxers were also singled out for special prizes: Twelve-year-old light flyweight Kenyatta Baker from the Job Walters Gym was named Outstanding Junior Novice Boxer; 20-year-old super heavyweight Jamaro Nooks, who tipped the scales at 258 lb, was named the Outstanding Senior Novice; and 18-year-old light welterweight, Oraine Walters, also from Job Walters Gym, was named the Outstanding Open Class boxer.
Novice boxers are those with less than five fights and their inexperience showed during the two nights of competition. This did not stop them from producing exciting contests, however, and one of the best was the final between Baker and his rival from the Stanley Couch Gym, Raheim Robinson.
Robinson went on the attack immediately but Baker warded off his attack with neat defensive work and fought back behind a persistent jab. This was the pattern for the three rounds and Baker was a clear winner.
Burly and muscular Nooks was fast and persistent and his power punching proved too much for his opponent, Aaron Gabriel, from the Heavy Metal Gym in St Ann, who did not make it through the second round.
Walters, who has been showing more aggressiveness in recent months, launched a blistering and unrelenting attack on his rival, Cleon Phillips, and secured a points win in an action-packed and entertaining fight.
Camion Goldson, the top boxer at Stanley Couch Gym, had an exciting victory over the rugged Ramel Lewis from Hard Knocks Gym to make it to the finals. There he encountered defending champion and Pan American bronze medallist, Rikardo Smith and lost on points. Smith was clearly the superior boxer but he annoyed spectators with his clowning.
Another popular winner was Catoney Robinson from Stanley Couch Gym, who gave an above-average performance to defeat Michael Bernard from Job's gym for the Open division middleweight title.
Kadrick Smith, one of three boxers from the G.C. Foster Gym, won the Novice lightweight crown with an impressive points victory over Matthew Barton from Stanley Couch.
There was one female contest in which lightweight Felice Groves outpointed her Bruisin' Gym colleague, Stephanie Willary over three entertaining rounds.