Bermuda puts on a show

BOXERS square off in Boxing Federation of the Bahamas’ Wellington ‘Sonny Boy’ Rahming and Leonard ‘Boston Blackie’ Miller Memorial Invitational Boxing Championships. 
Photos: Moise Amisial/Tribune Staff

BOXERS square off in Boxing Federation of the Bahamas’ Wellington ‘Sonny Boy’ Rahming and Leonard ‘Boston Blackie’ Miller Memorial Invitational Boxing Championships. Photos: Moise Amisial/Tribune Staff


Senior Sports Reporter


DESPITE having to wait an extra day to get into the ring, the four-man team from Bermuda left their impression on the Boxing Federation of the Bahamas’ 2023 Wellington ‘Sonny Boy’ Rahming and Leonard ‘Boston Blackie’ Miller Memorial Invitational Boxing Championships.

The championships, featuring competitors from Bermuda, Haiti and the Cayman Islands, were originally set for Friday and Saturday. But according to federation president Vincent Strachan, there appeared to be an “act of sabotage” that limited the competition to just one day.

“Five pieces of the boxing ring components were missing. The ring was stored in the softball building, while other items were stored in an unsuitable little building at the back of the National Boxing Centre,” Strachan said.

“Most of these items were destroyed from flooding and exposure to the unsatisfactory conditions. We had to dismantle the other ring and transport it to Sir Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium. We worked until very late to set up the second ring.”

Although under the supervision of treasurer Wellington Smith, Strachan said they started early with the anticipation of being completed in time to start the competition at 3pm. But they didn’t get started until after 8pm.

Strachan, in his brief opening remarks after prayer offered by referee/ judge Colin Ingraham from Inagua, apologised to those in attendance for the late start.

He also thanked his Caribbean counterpart Nathan Dill, president of the Bermuda Boxing Association, coach Floyd Trumpet from the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, elite boxer Charles Petit-Homme, who represented Haiti.

“Unfortunately the 26 member team from Haiti did not make it due to several reasons,” Strachan said.

In the highlight of the night, Cayman Islands’ Adrian Roach pulled off a unanimous decision over Tyrone Oliver, who made his international debut for The Bahamas in what could be described as the fight of the night. “Two fights in one night and just a couple hours apart, when last you heard of that,” said Roach about his two fights on the same night. “I’m a gifted man. I am more reserved, but I had to speak up on this. They made me fight.”

After getting beat to the punch in all three rounds, Oliver thanked God for all of the obstacles that he had endured to get to the fight night.

“It was a very entertaining fight, especially considering that he was an elite fighter and was two classes above my weight,” Oliver said. “I took the fight because I was at home, but because of the lack of applying pressure in the last round, they gave him the fight.

“But I still want to give God thanks because the opportunity just to fight on home soil was a privilege and I hope that this will be a stepping stone for what is to come as the federation tries to get boxing back to this level in the country.”

The 28-year-old Oliver said there’s always room for improvement and he hopes to get better in conditioning, skills, speed and power. He said it was an eye opener for him, but he intends to be much better whenever he fights again.

Earlier in the show, Roach took on Haiti’s Charles Petit-Homme and he took him right to the wire before he prevailed with a much closer decision for the victory.

In another exciting fight, but from the younger boxers, Grand Bahamian Davano Dorsette out-slugged Milton Newbold from New Providence.

“It was pretty good. He worked hard and I worked hard,” said Dorsette, a 13-year-old. “We both punched well, but I wanted it a little more. I think we should get a chance to fight each other again.”

Clarence Hepburn, also from Grand Bahama, forced the referee to step in and called off the fight against Emmit Rolle from Bimini. The taller Hepburn used an onslaught that Rolle didn’t have any answer for.

“I want to say thank you to my heavenly father for giving me this opportunity to have this fight,” Hepburn said. “I want to shout out to my coach Jermaine Gibson and all of the boxers from Grand Bahama for their support.”

Making his debut, Gabriel ‘Mini Tank’ Cureil of Bermuda was too much for Matthew Demss from New Providence to handle as his bout was stopped in the second round.

“I dedicate myself and put a lot of hard work into my training,” Cureil said. “My opponent came out aggressively, but I waited for him because I wanted to see if he could take my aggression,” Cureil said.

“I love being in the Bahamas. The people really treated me very nice. This was my first fight and so I was really pleased with the way I performed. I hope I can come back and put on another great performance.”

Christian Thompson of New Providence defeated Annan Zuill of Bermuda in the second round as the referee also stopped this bout.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant or anything, but I know I could do a lot better than that. I perform much better in the gym,” said 21-year-old Thompson, who has been fighting for the past three years.

“I was disappointed in myself, but I still pulled through and got the win. I was able to execute.”

Alec Lopez of the Cayman Islands pounded Jalya Francois from Nassau for the victory.

“This was my dream to box. Before I was born my mother wanted to name me Oscar De La Hoya. That’s a true story,” said the 16-year-old Lopez. “I just wanted to prove myself in boxing. “This is just my third amateur fight and I’m so blessed and grateful that I got a chance to come here and fight. I got an eight count on my opponent, so I’m just grateful for the win.”

Israel Cox of Inagua, decisioned Tevanno Dorsette in the pee wee division.

“It was a lot of fun just being in the ring,” said 13-year-old Cox. “It was tough after the first round. I got a little tired in the second. But in the third, my coach told me what to do and I did it.”

Keano Cox of Inagua easily won over Jason Bain from Grand Bahama.

“It was tough, but I pulled through and I came out on top,” said Cox, an 18-year-old. “I trained hard to get ready for this fight.”

Bruce Pernichiet of Bermuda won a second round decision over Jason Bethel from Grand Bahama. “My opponent came out swinging. I tip my hat to him for that. But I’ve been in the gym training and I respect my international fighters,” he said.

“But I got my fitness level up and that got me to win the second round and I just gave it my all in the third round.

“In the first round, I knew I had the intense training in my gym to handle what he came out with. I was taken off guard. I felt he was a fighter I had to respect and I gave him that respect back with my hands.”

The event also provided the opportunity for some of the boxers from the Bahamas to see where they are in preparation for the Bahamas Games in July. Strachan said they hope to put on some more fights to help the local boxers.

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