Team Saint Lucia won 6 gold, 7 silver and 3 bronze medals last weekend to retain the OECS Invitational Boxing Championships, the title it won in 2017 when the competition was last held previously.
With a whopping 38 points, Saint Lucia finished way ahead of second-placers Grenada who amassed 20 points with 2 gold, 6 silver and 2 bronze medals.
Antigua and Barbuda placed third with 18 points, winning 6 gold medals. Fourth-placers Barbados ended on 15 points with 3 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals.
Rounding out the two last spots were Martinique in fifth place on 11 points with 1 gold and 3 silver medals, while Guyana placed sixth on 8 points with 2 gold and 1 silver medals.
Special trophies were awarded to the following boxers:
- Best Junior Boxer — Herve Charlemagne (Saint Lucia)
- Best Youth Boxer — Shakquian James (Guyana)
- Best Novice Boxer — Uriah De Silva (Antigua and Barbuda)
- Best Novice Boxer — Melodie Tarrieu (Martinique)
- Best Elite Boxer — Charles Cox (Barbados)
Nearly 70 boxers from the OECS and wider Caribbean competed in the July 27-30 tournament which featured two exciting nights of boxing in various weight and age categories at the Vigie Multi-Purpose Sports Complex on July 28 and 29.
Sponsors for the tournament included National Lotteries Authority (NLA), St. Lucia Olympic Committee (SLOC) Inc., Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, Vybe Radio, Flow, Castries Constituencies Council, Blue Waters, West Indies Shipping, and Blackheart Productions.
Saint Lucia’s squad featured boxers from the Castries and Vieux Fort gyms, including Kyle Marcel, Arthur Henry, John Didier, Jeannan Gaspard, Justice Joseph, Garvin Donaie, Kyghan Mortley, Nikaela Khodra, Kaliya Stevens, Leran Regis, Jack Surage, and Arthur Langelier, among others.
The tournament was organized and hosted by the St. Lucia Boxing Association (SLBA), and featured junior, novice, senior, and elite boxers.
The tournament has received rave reviews from the many fans who came out to support the bouts, many of whom said they were impressed by the young boxers’ demonstration of skill and confidence.
The latest title win by the Saint Lucian boxers came three months after Saint Lucia hosted and won the Caribbean Champion of Champions Boxing Tournament in April. In that tournament, Saint Lucia outdid regional counterparts Guadeloupe, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana. Saint Lucia won 5 gold, 9 silver and 2 bronze medals.
President of SLBA and Tournament Director, David “Shakes” Christopher, said last week’s tournament showcased a promising picture for the future of Caribbean boxing.
“I’m very happy with how the tournament turned out, especially that we were able to pull it off after an almost six-year hiatus,” Christopher said. “We saw the real aggression and passion from our Caribbean boxers. The future looks bright for Caribbean boxing. Many young boxers were exposed during this tournament and it’s very encouraging for the sport.”
Christopher added that many Caribbean countries have already been endorsing Saint Lucia to host the upcoming Caribbean Boxing Championships which should feature over 200 boxers from nearly 20 Caribbean countries.
“I’m hoping that we can continue to support these tournaments as we prepare for international tournaments,” the SLBA President stated. “We’re also shaping up to host the Caribbean Boxing Championships in Saint Lucia in December this year. So we’re using the experiences from the Caribbean Champion of Champions and OECS Invitational Boxing Championships as a yardstick. We’re also hoping to get the support from the governing body, the International Boxing Association (IBA), and our continental body, the American Boxing Confederation (AMBC) in that regard.”
Meanwhile, Stan Bishop, SLBA’s Public Relations Officer/Tournament Director, said the latest tournaments demonstrate that with the right mix of determination, energies and support, the sport will continue to produce quality boxers, as it has done in the past.
“I think what we need is for the collective Saint Lucian diaspora to recognize that by simply giving our youngsters a chance to do something positive with their energies eliminates the possibility of them resorting to deviant behaviour,” Bishop said.
“Boxing is a contact sports, yes, but it also teaches athletes to be disciplined. Therefore, our boxers need our collective support if they are to not only become champions and better citizens, but also inspire others to do the same.”
The SLBA takes this opportunity to thank everyone who made the tournament a success, including our sponsors, boxers, referees and judges, ring girls, caterers, parents, executive committee, fans, support team, coaches, and those who provided accommodations for the teams.
SOURCE: Saint Lucia Boxing Association