RICHARD Holmes, last year’s Wray & Nephew Contender (boxing) series semi-finalist, launched his campaign in the 2013 edition with a swift technical knockout (TKO) result over Lloyd Smith at the Chinese Benevolent Association on Wednesday night.
Judge Oliver Hardie declared Holmes the winner by TKO after referee Barrington Graham stepped in to stop the fight at 2:30 minutes of the second round. This was after Smith had conceded victory by turning his back on his opponent.
Smith, who was in the fight up to that point, was caught with a crisp and punishing right uppercut to the chin while exchanging punches in a close toe-to-toe action.
The Contender Series, sponsored by Wray & Nephew, Foska Oats and TVJ, is staged in conjunction with the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control.
Sixteen professional boxers will compete for the title of Jamaica Ultimate Middleweight Boxer and the Wray & Nephew Contender and for a share of nearly two million dollars in prize money. The winner will pocket $1,000,000 with the runner-up receiving $500,000, third place, $250,000, and fourth place, $200,000.
During the first seven weeks of the series both teams will engage in a weekly challenge. The team that wins the challenge gets to select the teammate who will represent them in the fight that week, as well as the opponent from the other team.
“It was not surprising that the fight finished this early. It would have happened to anyone of the other fighters or Lloyd Smith, it would have been the same result, as I already have a game plan to progress,” said Holmes.
Fighting out of the Green corner while representing Bruising Gym, Holmes added: “The game plan is not all about knocking out the opponent from early. It is all about when the chance comes take it, so when the chance comes you have to take the chance. In this business of boxing you have to work off opportunity and when it comes make the best use of it.”
Former welterweight boxer Carl Grant, who is coach/manager of Holmes, had this to say following the brief encounter to usher in the 2013 Contender Boxing season: “We never got to see the real Holmes tonight (Wednesday night) it was just a night to workout like any night at the Gym and have fun and surprisingly the uppercut caught Smith and the fight was stopped, but this is not the best of Holmes. There is much more to come.”
Grant promised a more resilient Holmes in this edition: “Holmes fought as a welterweight last year and had to lose weight to fight in the class and was not seen at his best, but now appearing at his true weight as a middleweight contender will be seen at his devastating best.”
Smith, who received a cut on the brow of his left eye and was bothered by it, offered: “The uppercut did not affect me. He caught me with a good right and I decided to quit as my vision from the cut was affected.”
Representing Hard Knocks Gym out of Savanna-la-Mar, his coach/manager Andrew Boland said the defeat of Smith is a poor signal for him as far as his Yellow Team advancement in the tournament is concerned: “If Lloyd had continued to stay away from him he would have got him tonight. He got a lucky punch, cut the eye and a fighter with a bloodied eye cannot see, so what he has to do was to retire.”