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Grit and heart on show at National Amateur Boxing Championships

Friday, February 8, 2013
Christian McDonald, right, connects with a jab against Raheem Modeste during their junior-featherweight fight at the National Amateur Boxing Championships which ended last week.

Approximately 25 champions were crowned at the recently-concluded National Amateur Boxing Championships at the Woodbrook Youth Facility over a five-day period last week. 


Amateur boxers matched gloves, grit and heart to decide who would prevail as the champion in each weight division. One boxer even tried to match feet, as he executed a perfect round house kick to his opponent’s body. He was immediately disqualified.


Fans were entertained with some of the best amateur boxing they would have seen in years. From a devastating body punch that ended a bout immediately, to four fiery rounds that scorched the canvas of the ring and had the crowd on its feet, the five nights were hardly short of action.


While a few of last year’s champions held on to their titles, quite a large number of gold medals went to the rookies. And whereas some of the well-known gyms fell well short of their intended medal haul, the new clubs made quite an impression. Even the clubs more known for their kick-boxing exploits took away a good portion of the gold medals. 


The rookie gym of the year seemed to be Ultimate Gym where pro boxer Floyd Trumpet is the head coach. Touted as kick-boxing clubs, Rough House and Fine Line ensured their athletes kept their feet on the ground and they went on to cop good metal as well.


The bout of the entire championship may very well be the light welterweight final between Black Hawks’ Stephen Charles and Cosmic’s Akiel Outram. Both boxers gave everything they had and left nothing to spare. They each dished out their fair share of punishment and it was a contest that had the fans on the edge of their seats. But in the end, Charles prevailed as he threw a final powerful punch that made the referee issue a third and final eight count to Outram, thus ending the bout mere seconds before the scheduled final bell. 


Young Christian McDonald (Ultimate) was all business. A seemingly fearless 15-year old who threw more punches than one could count, McDonald took home a well-deserved junior featherweight title. 


The coolest customer in the ring seemed to be Davin Sinaswee as he was all power and angles. Dubbed “cool as a cucumber,” Sinaswee wore the same facial expression in and out the ring. Displaying good technique with fearsome power and some angular twists that confused his opponents, he made it past four opponents to claim the novice welterweight gold medal. 


The elite heavyweights did not disappoint the fans but a tall, lean Marinus Coutain (Fine Line) was the pick amongst the big guys. With long arms and speed like a lightweight, Coutain didn’t rely on the judges as he stopped all his opponents before the final bell in each of his three bouts. The nineteen-year-old would have certainly caught the attention of the boxing bosses. 


The women were not left out of the action and they certainly made their marks. Stephanie Allen warded off a fiesty Keitha Charles to win their flyweight clash. Fairly unknown but coming from the lineage of Joseph “Black Mamba” Charles, Keitha impressed with her athletic build and snappy long arms. Allen, on the other hand, was a visibly more skilled boxer who used speed and power to claim the gold medal.


During the regional bouts, Yousanna Mohammed had her work cut out as she was almost overwhelmed by Barbadian Iprecious Lyscott. Just 14 years old with a pencil slim physique, Lyscott’s demeanour and looks belied her grit and willpower. She threw punches almost non-stop but a game Mohammed used technique and ring craft to manoeuvre her way to an 8-7 victory. In the final bout of the event, Chimere Taylor exuded a confidence in the ring that was almost tangible. She skillfully and unhurriedly picked apart Guyanese Theresa London with a 16-3 victory margin. 


The TTABA and its staff made every effort to ensure a smooth proceeding each evening. While there were two unavoidable late starts, the event was efficiently conducted. Local judges and referees were joined by some regional colleagues. With the endorsement of the Ministry of Sport and the T&T Boxing Board of Control and the financial support of the Sports Company of T&T, the ABA hosted the biggest national championships ever. Caribbean Bottlers Ltd was also on board and provided the boxers with Powerade, and the staff and officials with Dasani Bottled Water.


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