Mon | Sep 25, 2017

‘Frog’ Holmes ready to execute

Published:Wednesday | May 18, 2016 | 5:00 AMLeroy Brown
Jamaica's Richard Holmes (left) stalking his opponent, American Xzaviar Ford, in his opening Contender bout.

It will be a battle of Caribbean boxers in the Wray and Nephew Contender series tonight when Jamaica's Richard 'Frog' Holmes takes on Iwan Azore from Trinidad and Tobago, in the third quarter-final of the competition at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Old Hope Road, beginning at 9:30 p.m.

Holmes should have fought American Rashid Stevens, who defeated Jamaica's Camion Goldson in the preliminaries, but the promoters received news over the weekend that Stevens was ill and could not fight tonight. They had to therefore bring in Azore as a replacement.

Azore was an original entrant in the competition, but lost his first fight to Demarcus 'Chop Chop' Corley in the second week of competition, on March 16. He lost by unanimous decision then and questioned the decision to make him fight Corley - the No. 1 seeded boxer in the competition - so early.

Stevens' illness has given him a second chance, however, one he said yesterday that he "will be grasping with both hands".

Azore is an experienced boxer and goes into battle tonight with a 16-6-2 record. He is 34, has been boxing as a professional since 2004, and is a southpaw.

Against Corley he showed good boxing skills, but his opponent outsmarted him and gave him very few opportunities to launch an attack. He has only six knockout victories, so his boxing skills will be his main weapons tonight.

Holmes, who has 11 wins and five losses, had a very short first fight in the preliminaries, as his opponent, Xzavier Ford, suffered an injury to his shoulder only 55 seconds into the fight and could not continue.

Holmes had hoped to get some well-needed ring work in that fight, but it was not to be, and he is clearly in need of competition. His inactivity could well determine the outcome of the fight.

 

FITNESS NOT A PROBLEM

 

Holmes stated emphatically that he is in good physical condition and his fitness will not be a problem.

"I have been working hard, my stamina is good, and all I have to do now is to execute," he told The Gleaner yesterday.

He is a good boxer/puncher, who is effective when he puts his fight plan in action. He tends to be wild at times, however, and against an opponent like Azore, he has to be efficient with his punch selection.

The fight is only over five rounds, so both boxers know that they cannot waste time. Getting out fast is therefore necessary, and boxing fans should be provided with a keen, hard-fought contest that will quite likely go the distance.

The winner tonight will gain the third of four semi-final places and will be guaranteed some of the prize money at stake.

The winner of the championships will get the Contender 2016 Welterweight belt and $2 million, the runner up will receive $500,000, third place $250,000 and fourth $200,000.