The ‘crowd’ was extremely sparse for the 17th Horace Phillips Memorial Boxing Tournament on Saturday night at the St Michael School, but those in attendance were entertained by a few exciting bouts.
However, if organisers are trying to encourage fans out of their homes to support amateur boxing, the ridiculous $40 entrance fee at the door was a joke taken way too far. And the complaints from some of the 20 persons present suggested it was no laughing matter.
Of the action in the ring, a contingent from Antigua proved to be the main attraction with brothers Jeremiah and Joshua Toussaint, Amor Payne and Uriah Desilver all winning their bouts.
One of the better fights on the night featured Barbadians Peter Murray of the National Gym and Lamar Tull of the Shaka School. Murray dominated the light-welterweight contest, demonstrating more poise and boxing skills than Tull. Tull was forced to take two standing eight-counts in the second round after Murray connected with a fierce uppercut and on another occasion a right cross that found its mark on Tull’s head. Murray himself took an eight-count in the third round but that seemed more due to the strict amateur rules on being hit than him being hurt by one of the few clean shots landed by the promising Tull.
Joshua Toussaint was the best boxer on show during the night with a second-round victory over Grenadian Nelon Cyrus. Toussaint concentrated many of his punches on Cyrus’ body and the more he hit him there the more Cyrus’ gloves dropped to allow headshots.
Brother Jeremiah got a three-round points decision over Barbadian Rashawn Holder. Holder looked game but needs to punch rather than slap. He must, however, be given kudos for returning later in the night for a second fight. This was to accommodate Aruban Aaron Martjin who had travelled from his homeland to fight but would have had to return home without getting into the ring because his Barbadian opponent Tevin Brewster was a no-show. Holder would go on to get a rather generous decision over Martjin.
Barbados’ Derek Hyman needs to learn to pace himself better. He is usually all action from the first round, always pressing forward, always throwing punches. But by the third round he is also usually a spent force. He will either have to work on greater endurance if he wants to maintain his style or learn to pace himself. In his fight against Desilver he was being picked off at will by the third round and was at times using his opponent as a prop. But he is a fighter who always generates excitement by his relentlessness.
In other bouts, Payne got the better of Barbados’ Dario Cheeseman after their fight was stopped in the third round and light-welterweight Barbadian Tyree Weekes-Haynes got the decision over Martinique’s Andy Norden.