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Tokyo 2021 #1YearToGo

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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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TRINIDAD AND Tobago’s fighters won four of the five international contests on Tuesday night, when the second instalment in the “Tuesday Night Boxing at the Castle” series was held at cricket icon Brian Lara’s residence on the Lady Chancellor Hill in St Ann’s.

Consistent with the stated intent to provide much-needed fight experience for those attempting to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games, Tuesday’s nine-bout programme included five fights of three three-minute rounds, under IBA rules.

There was concern among the gathering of invitees, including sports administrators, businessmen and others, when the home fighter was beaten in the very first international contest.

From the opening bell, it was clear that in Arthur Lagelier, Rommel Lezama had bitten off more than he could chew. The strapping, dreadlocked St Lucian had the advantage in height, reach and power; Lezama bravely went on the offensive early, but Lagelier had him flat on his back in the first round.

Lezama showed no fear, fighting back, if at times wildly; but in the 2nd round, his corner threw in the towel after he had taken two standing eight counts.

The atmosphere was therefore charged when lightweight Michael Alexander entered the ring to face Guyana’s Joel Williams; the fans demanded revenge, but the two southpaws did not trade nearly as many blows as the previous pair.

Alexander, the Commonwealth and CAC Games bronze medallist, never allowed the Guyanese to get in close; rather, he showed sound defensive technique and scored often on the counter. The result was a clear unanimous decision in favour of the TT fighter.

“Yeah, both of us were southpaw,” was Alexander’s response to Newsday afterward. “In boxing, a southpaw will hardly bounce up a southpaw. I expected more from him. I thought he would have put in more of a challenge, but to me it was a good preparation towards Rio.” Featherweight Anthony Joseph also won by unanimous decision over Guyana’s Jamal Eastman in the least remarkable of the night’s offerings, making it 2-1 for the home fighters.

The fans finally got what they had come for when Aaron Prince took on St Lucian Lyndell Marcelin in a super-welterweight contest.

Prince surprised his opponent, attacking from the opening bell, scoring in combinations from close in. Marcelin sought to respond in kind, and the fans were lapping up a good scrap. Prince did not maintain the intensity in the 2nd, and Marcelin got in a couple of punches, raising expectations of an exciting finale. But in the 3rd, Prince did enough to secure victory, fighting off a late flurry from Marcelin to gain a unanimous decision.

Super-middleweight Justin “Speedy” Parris then brought the programme to a surprisingly quick end, rushing Guyana’s Trevor Elcock from the opening bell, off-loading punches on his taller adversary in a wild opening sequence.

Twice, Elcock extricated himself, only to be trapped again by the swarming Parris, forcing his corner to throw in the towel; it was all over after exactly one minute of the 1st round-- Parris by TKO, completing a 4-1 result for the TT amateurs.

Earlier, in the preliminary all-TT bouts, Kyron Ruiz gained a split decision over Yuri Sorzano, Jean-Paul Cooper of World-Class Gym won unanimously over Cosmic’s Jesse Beckles, Christian Mc Donald (Ultimate Gym) also won 3-0 over Joseph George of YTC Arouca, while Rachael Williams (Cosmic Gym) was too good for Crystal Thomas of the Ultimate Gym.

The final night of amateur boxing will take place at the “Castle” next Tuesday.

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