Contender pits Jamaica's best against the Caribbean
WHAT has now become the cradle of Jamaica's boxing revival, the popular J Wray & Nephew-sponsored Contender Boxing Series, has thrown its 2014 edition's door wide open to the Caribbean for a major showdown with Jamaica.
However, only the English-speaking Caribbean countries of Barbados and Guyana will take part. Trinidad and Tobago had accepted the challenge but the boxer selected had to return home to honour an earlier engagement.
Wisynco, through its Schweppes grapefruit soda brand, has joined major sponsors J Wray & Nephew in staging an ultra-competitive and beefed-up Contender Boxing Series that opens at the Chinese Benevolent Association (CBA) Auditorium on Wednesday, March 19 starting at 7:30 pm.
The fourth staging of the Contender Boxing Series has brought together the very best 16 fighters from both Jamaica and the Caribbean to trade punches for a share of the $3 million prize money on offer with the major share of $2 million going to the winner along with the title of Jamaica's Ultimate Welterweight Contender.
The runner-up will pocket $500,000 with third place $250,000 and fourth place $200,000.
Gary Dixon, marketing director of J Wray & Nephew, in making the announcement, spiced up the evening with a piece of good news for local boxing. "I am very pleased to further announce that through our Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum brand, we have committed $6 million to the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control's "Road To Rio" campaign and we look forward to cheering on our boxers at the summer Olympics," he said.
Dixon also announced that his company has contracted Devon Moncrieffe, last year's J Wray & Nephew Contender winner, to assist with the development of young Jamaican boxers as part of his duties with the series.
The announcement was made at TVJ studios on Lyndhurst Road in Kingston on Thursday.
The 16 boxers contesting the Contender Boxing Series will be divided into two teeming cauldrons: Team Jamaica (Green Team) and Team Caribbean (Yellow Team), of which Carl Grant will act as coach for the Jamaican team and last year's winning coach Andrew Boland acting on behalf of Team Caribbean.
Team Jamaica will be represented by Sakimo Mullings, who will face Revlon Lake of Guyana representing the Yellow Team over six rounds on opening night; Tsetsi Davis, last year's Contender runner-up, 2012 winner Donovan "Police" Campbell, Kevin 'Bus Boy' Hylton, Ramel 'Sub Zero' Lewis, Richard 'Frog' Holmes, Derrick 'Guts' Spencer and Glenroy "Bumpy" Beckford.
In addition to Lake, the Caribbean Team will also feature Gardel 'The Judge' Roberts, Guyana; Christopher 'Shaka' Henry, Barbados; Derrick 'Dangerous' Richmond, Guyana; Howard 'Batter Tea' Eastman, Guyana; Gladwin 'Tiger' Dorway, Guyana, with the Caribbean Team completed by Anthony Osbourne of Jamaica.
As in the past seasons, during the first eight weeks of the Wray & Nephew Contender, Team Jamaica and Team Caribbean will engage in a series of weekly challenges marshalled by Atlanta's double Silver medallist Juliet Cuthbert as motivator.
The winning team will then have the advantage to nominate a boxer from their camp and choose an opponent from the other camp to oppose each other in an elimination fight to determine who remains in the contest. These bouts will be broadcast live to the nation on TVJ, the event's broadcast partner.
At the second stage of the contest, the eight winners from round one will fight over six rounds for the four spots with the four top-seeded fighters selecting their opponents in a random draw.
The penultimate round three stage will see the top four from stage two battle it out over eight rounds into the semi-final. At this stage, the two fights of eight rounds each, at the end, will leave the two best boxers to battle each other in the fourth and final stage over 10 rounds for the title of Jamaica's Ultimate Welterweight Contender and a $2 million winner's purse.