Boxing returns with ‘Fight Night on Olympic Way’
President of the Jamaica Olympic Association Christopher Samuda (right) throws a mock punch at boxing coach Gilbert Vaz (centre) at the launch of Fight Night at Cling Cling Oval on Olympic Way on Wednesday. Looking on is Lindel Wallace, president of Sugar Knockout Gym. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

Competitive boxing will return to the sporting landscape with a well-stocked fight card, which includes amateurs, females, and a professional matchup.

The event, dubbed ‘Fight Night on Olympic Way’ is scheduled for this Saturday at 7:00 pm when the Sugar Knockout Boxing Gym will come alive at the Cling Cling Oval in Olympic Gardens.

The Sugar Knockout Gym was also launched at it newest location at the Cling Cling Oval, home of former Reggae Boyz Ian “Pepe” Goodison who is president of the football club.

Goodison, a France ‘98 World Cup veteran, has been a big supporter of the boxing gym, which has now taken up residency on the top floor of the football club.

Lindel Wallace started the gym in 2008 as a way to give back to the young people in his community. “I was a boxer and I love boxing so much that when I done with it, I said I have to really turn a coach, so a come and get some gears and start train. Boxing is my life and what I love,” he said.

Regarding the gym’s current location, Wallace said: “I feel good about it because its long time I was asking for a place to call home and now I get it. I need to improve more with my fighter dem.” He also said that Digicel, UK-based Jamaican Shania Gordon and the Jamaica Boxing Association provided financial support to upgrade the gym and equipment to stock it.

According to Jamaican-born Felipe Sanchez (Colombian background) and vice-president of the gym, “I have been involved in boxing in Jamaica for over four years”.

“In total boxing has been a part of my life for over 15 years, but coming here to the boxing gym in Sugar Knockout Gym, it’s been wonderful to see the sense of community that has been built,” he said.

“We don’t just teach them boxing, we teach them responsibility, so for me to see them grow as persons, it brings me a lot of pride. For example, we have a club captain weekly who is in charge [to make sure] that the gym is clean, the lights are turned off, the water is not running and that the gloves are all accounted as this will help them at the end of the day,” said Sanchez.

The Jamaica Boxing Association President Stephen Bomber Jones said, “[I am] very pleased. Very excited. We are encouraged by what I saw today (Wednesday) by what we knew would be coming and by what we know to be coming Saturday. The return of the sport has been long overdue, but everything in its time.”

“What I like most is that the card represents all levels, from the grassroots level to our elite national representative to a pro fight on the same night so the community will see boxing at a very high level. Most importantly is the return to the sport, so this is not a oneoff. It’s the beginning of what should have been and pick up from where we left off and where we gonna go.”

Jones said that the fight card includes eight amateur bouts, inclusive of one female matchup and one pro bout between Jamaica’s Headley “Lights Out’’ Scott and Mexico’s Israel Rojas. Two of the boxers — one male and one female — will come in from the recently launched Top Level Gym in Montego Bay.

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