Reid seals title for JDF
Leroy Brown, Gleaner Writer
A good all-round performance from their seven- man team gave the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) the edge in the Jamaica Boxing Board-sponsored three-night National Boxing Championships, which ended on Saturday at Stanley Couch Gym on Victoria Avenue.
The boxing soldiers, who scored 16 points, got the better of Bruising Gym (13), Boys' Town (nine) and Stanley Couch and Heavy Metal (five points each).
On the final night of competition, the JDF and Bruising Gym had representatives in five of the nine finals, so it was anybody's race. Bruising gyms two stars, middleweight Michael Gardener and welterweight Kestna Davis, both lost, however, and a decisive victory in the night's final bout, when super heavyweight André Reid from the JDF edged defending champion Dukey Rowe from Stanley Couch, sealed it.
The fight of the night was undoubtedly the clash between Janathan Hanson and Gardener.
Last year, Gardener won the middleweight title with a victory over Graffique King. This year, however, Hanson, who fought as a light heavyweight last year, moved down to middleweight and defeated King in the semi-finals to set up the meeting with Gardener.
This fight saw both men giving of their best, but Hanson used his jabs effectively to score points, while Gardener, who concentrated on a body attack, was thwarted by excellent defence tactics. Gardener was also easier to hit, and this led to his downfall. Hanson was later named the Outstanding Boxer for 2014.
The biggest upset of the night came in the welterweight division, where defending champion Kestna Davis was beaten by Canada-based Jamaican Khadel Morris, who came to Jamaica for the championships.
Morris scored two very good victories on his way to the final, defeating Camion Goldson from Stanley Couch on points and soldier Shawn Wheatle, who was hampered by an ankle injury, by technical knockout (TKO).
Davis used jabs and superb defensive tactics to win the first round, but Morris changed his tactics in the second round and his body attack paid dividends. In the third round, Davis was too defensive, and this cost him the fight. He lost by majority decision.
Another good contest was that between 18-year-old Omar Campbell from Bruising Gym and his more experienced JDF opponent, Ian Darby. This was another close and hard-fought bout, but at the end, it was Campbell by majority decision. Campbell was voted Most Promising Boxer 2014 for his performance in the competition.
The JDF's head coach, Gilbert Vaz, was voted Champion Coach for the second year in succession and Bruising Gym received the nod for being the Most Disciplined team.
In the lone female contest, Sashagay Fowler from Bruising Gym won her heavyweight contest, when her opponent, Jasmine Graham, retired at the end of the first round.
In other bouts: Davian Thomas from Boys' Town won the bantamweight title with a TKO injury victory over André Sloley from Heavy Metal; Kevonna Willis, JDF, defeated Kenry McDermott from Bruising on points; Donald Patrick, JDF, defeated Shaquille Linton from Boys' Town by knockout in round two; and heavyweight Bassano Shaw from the JDF was gifted a walkover by Mason Brown from Boys' Town.