Boxer Eccleston taking Pan Am experience in stride
SANTIAGO, Chile — Boxer Jaden Eccleston may have lost his first-round bout at the Pan American Games here on Saturday but he says it has not deterred him in any way.
Eccleston, based in the Cayman Islands but representing Jamaica, lost 5-0 to Haiti’s Cedrick Belony-Duliepre in the 80kg class, ending his hopes of immediately qualifying for the Olympic Games next summer in this event.
But when speaking with the Jamaica Observer after, he was still positive about achieving that goal and frank about why he lost the bout.
“It was a good fight but I thought I could’ve done better,” he said. “I could’ve approached it in a better manner. After the first round of boxing my coach [Floyd Trumpet] told me I lost the round and I needed to step it up a bit. But I thought he meant I should’ve gone ahead and pushed, but he was saying I should step up the boxing — like literally step forward. That allowed me to receive some clean shots that helped the judges to score it in favour of the other guy, but I thought I did well. I could’ve done better; I didn’t showcase what I could do.
“It’s a bit of a setback but I’m not discouraged or anything.”
Eccleston moved to the Cayman Islands from Manchester with his father, who told him the environment was suitable for boxing training. This was after leaving school. He likes the set-up of the country’s facilities but thinks there could be some overall improvement in the country’s depth of trainers.
“The facilities in Cayman are in the top five, or even number one in the Caribbean,” he said. “Right now it may not have a strong coaching system because it’s a non-profit organisation but the building is good, the gym is good, and everything else is good at the gym.”
Eccleston was hoping to follow in the path of compatriot Ricardo “Big 12” Brown who took the bronze medal in the 91+kg class at the last Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, in 2019. He then competed at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 before turning pro, a level at which he is still unbeaten.
“What he’s doing right now, it’s very influential [for] me seeing him going pro,” Eccleston said. “In 2018 I boxed at the Caribbean Championship and he was there also as an amateur. It’s good to see him right now as a pro, 9-0. It inspires me to do the same (go pro), move up the ranks, and do the same.”
Eccleston will now turn his attention to an Olympic qualifying tournament to be staged in Busto Arsizio, Italy, in February.