The Guyana Boxing Association has been invited to send a team of pugilists to participate in the first ever Jamaica versus Guyana Goodwill Competition, scheduled for Kingston, Jamaica in early October.
President of the Jamaica Boxing Association, Stephen ‘Bomber’ Jones, wrote to his Guyanese counterpart Steve Ninvalle, declaring his intention to commence the exchange program between the two countries.
“The very close relationship that Guyana shares with Jamaica is the worst kept secret in regional boxing, Ninvalle said. “Jamaica was one of three countries (including Guyana) when we started the Caribbean Goodwill series in 2014 and which blossomed into the Caribbean Development Tournament the following year. Jamaica is now soliciting our support and we will be sending a team, however, the size of that contingent would be announced later.”
The competition is being staged at a time when locals are preparing for the Terrence Ali National Open scheduled for November and the Caribbean Development Tournament in December.
“We plan to use this as much-needed practice leading up to the Caribbean Development Tournament which is scheduled for St. Lucia in December as the intention is to retain the Caribbean Champion title which we won last year.”
According to Ninvalle the association will be holding a fund raising take away lunch on August 6 to assist in sending the team.
He added that one of the GBA’s top priority would be to include heavyweight Jason ‘AK 47’ Barker on the team. “The importance of keeping him active cannot be more emphasized and as an association we would have to exercise diligence.”
Barker won a gold medal at the last Caribbean Tournament. When contacted, Jones hailed the initiative as step in the right direction for boxing in the region.
“With all the talent in the Caribbean and with the rise of activity within our sport, it truly is now just a matter of time before we are making waves on a consistent basis at the highest level on the biggest of international stages. Following up on the success of the Caribbean Development Tournaments which are poised to get stronger year over year, as well as the highly anticipated annual Schoolboys tournament held in Guyana, the Jamaica Boxing Board in the hopes of complementing these high-level events have recently come up with a “Jamaica versus” series,” Jones said.
“The idea is to give our National boxers the much-needed competition against different styles of fighters from the strongest of boxing nations. We launched the series in November 2016 with Jamaica vs Cayman and then followed it up in May with Jamaica vs Panama. Those two successful events set the stage for what will be the most electrifying night of all when Caribbean powerhouse Team Guyana visits the shores of Jamaica in October,” the JBA president added.
“Guyana has been excelling in sports right across the board and boxing is certainly no different as they have been churning out Caribbean champions on all levels and have proven themselves the nation to measure yourself against. President of Guyana Amateur Boxing Steve Ninvalle has been steadfastly championing the growth of activity across our region and it will be an honor to host a team from his home nation in Jamaica,” Jones declared.
The three-day competition will run from October 12-15.