After its conception 12 years ago, the Ronald Wilson Invitational is back on the Barbados Boxing Association’s (BBA) calendar and promises to be an exciting three-way tie between Barbados, Canada and Royal Navy from England tomorrow.
However, three of Barbados’ best will not feature as Kimberley Gittens, Charles Cox and Jabali Breedy are all currently overseas preparing for Olympic Qualifiers scheduled for March. Gittens and Cox are in Santo Domingo competing at the Intercontinental Cup while Breedy is at a training camp in Washington DC.
Despite those three not being present, BBA president Richard Atwell said the tournament scheduled for tomorrow night at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium will give other national boxers the opportunity to show what they have to offer.
Among those taking the ring for Barbados against a competitive field is promising elite boxer Ajayi Jones, in the 56kg. Jones has international experience under his belt having represented this country at the Central America and Caribbean Championship in 2018 and Pan American Games last year in Lima, Peru.
Jones’ fellow Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) boxing mate Shaquan Lashley, is expected to feature as well. Talented boxers Joe Bishop and Deshawn Shepherd who both won gold at the Caribbean Championship last year will also participate.
There are 12 boxers from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines; 10 males and two females.
Coach Paul Ormston said they are looking forward to the challenge.
“The guys and girls are really looking forward to getting in the ring to showcase their talent. This is the team’s final preparation bouts before our upcoming UK (United Kingdom) Armed Forces Championships and National Championships in March.”
Two of Canada’s best, Dennis Ballerda and Karn Mann from South Side Legion Boxing Club in Edmonton, have a hundred fights between them and should provide keen competition.
Canada’s coach Rick Jamerson said he is looking forward to building a strong partnership with the BBA.
The tournament, which is being held for the second time, is named after the first long-standing president of the BBA. Atwell said the event was being held to honour Wilson who was a financial pillar for boxing and was also instrumental in the development of the sport locally and regionally.
There are a total of 28 bouts, 14 on each night and competition is expected to start tomorrow at 7.p.m., following the opening ceremony at 6:30 pm.
Action will also commence at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Early bird tickets are $20 while at the door it is $30.