Tough battle for Ja's Holmes
Richard 'Frog' Holmes, a two-time finalist in the Wray & Nephew Contender boxing series, with a 17-8 record, will fight for a place in the 2018 semi-finals tonight, when he takes on Canadian Larone Whyte over five rounds at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Old Hope Road in St Andrew. The action starts at 8:30 p.m. with two amateur bouts, followed by the main bout, which will be broadcast on TVJ at 9:30 p.m.
Holmes was scheduled to meet Tariq Ismail tonight, but Ismail, who defeated Fabian Tucker earlier in the competition, withdrew last Thursday for what has been stated as "personal reasons". Whyte has, therefore, been brought in as a substitute. He is very familiar with the Contender series, as he participated last year as a junior middleweight and reached the quarter- finals.
Whyte, who has a record of three wins and two losses, created an upset last year when he defeated Devon Moncriffe by split decision in the preliminaries. In the quarter-final bout, he put up a gallant fight, but lost by split decision to the eventual winner, Sakima Mullings. He has strong Jamaican ties, as both his parents are Jamaican, and his coach, Chris Johnson, who was also born in Jamaica, is well known here. Whyte had a very large contingent of family members cheering for him last year, and he told The Gleaner yesterday that "it will be the same thing tomorrow."
"Jamaica is like home to me, and for the past few days I have been visited by both my father's and mother's relatives. I feel so good here man, and I am going to put on a good show," he added. He said that he has a lot of incentive to win tonight. First, "it will mean getting into the semi-finals, and second, he will get to come back again. I have to win tonight", he repeated. His trainer Johnson said his fighter is in good condition, and he expects a good performance from him.
Prepared for the challenge
Holmes has taken the change of opponent in stride, and says that he is "well prepared for the challenge". He conceded that Whyte will be a more difficult fighter to beat than Ismail.
"He has more experience than Tariq, and I remember how well he fought last year. My training has gone well, however, I am fitter than when I fought in April, and it will be action from the opening bell. He is a better opponent, but I just have to raise the bar," he ended.
The winner tonight will join David Lebron from Canada and Jamaica's Moncriffe in the semi-finals, and guarantee himself a portion of the top prize money. The winner will take home the Contender 2018 title and $2 million, the runner-up gets $500,000, third place $250,000 and fourth place $200,000.