‘Frog’ ready to jump all over US teen
Jamaica's Richard 'Frog' Holmes, 28, one of the leading boxers on the Caribbean team, will take on 19-year-old Xzaviar Ford from North Carolina, USA, in the opening salvo of the Wray & Nephew Contender 2016 boxing series, at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium, Old Hope Road, tonight.
The made-for-television series will be broadcast live, starting at 9 p.m. by Television Jamaica.
Now in its sixth season, the series has proven to be very popular in Jamaica and the Caribbean, and this year it will be eight boxers from Jamaica (five), Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Guyana (one each), going up against eight boxers from the USA (seven) and the Bahamas. Competition this year will be in the welterweight division.
Holmes goes into the ring with a record of 10 wins and five losses and it is of note that he was the runner-up last year - when it was a middleweight contest - with the upper weight limit being 160 pounds. He lost to Kemahl 'Hitman' Russell.
When asked about his weight by The Gleaner yesterday, Holmes said he has had no problem moving down to the welterweight division - where the limit is 147 pounds - because his normal weight is in the region of 152 pounds.
He confessed to not being "100 per cent ready at this time" because he has only been in high level training for about a month. He is confident that he will do well tonight, however, and warned that his opponent had "better be ready for some fireworks".
Ford, his opponent, has only four fights, with one victory and three defeats. He said his plan is to use his speed to good advantage against Holmes.
The American's trainer, Chris Joy, was also confident that his boxer would be able to hold his own and give a good performance.
The bout will be over five rounds, a change from previous years when the preliminaries were fought over six rounds.
There were some controversies with drawn fights last year, so the promoters, after discussions with the Jamaica Boxing Board, made it an uneven number of rounds this year to guarantee a clear winner. The semi-finals will be over seven rounds, but the final will remain a 10-rounder.
The winner of the series will take home $2 million, runner-up $500,000, third place $250,000, and fourth place $200,000.