Leroy Brown, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Dramatic knockout victories have been one of the features of the Wray and Nephew Contender series, and Richard Holmes made it into the semi-finals of the competition last Wednesday night, with a first-round knockout victory over Christopher Powell, at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium.
This was the second of the quarter-final bouts, and Holmes has assured himself a good payday as he is now into the money rounds of the competition. The winner will be crowned Wray and Nephew Welterweight Contender 2012 and take home a million dollars. The other finalist will earn $500,000, third place $250,000 and fourth $200,000.
Promoted by MJK Productions with the approval of the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control, the sponsors of the 16-week made-for-television series are J. Wray and Nephew, Foska Oats and TVJ.
Holmes, who, like Powell, made his pro debut some weeks ago, started the clear favourite because of his much better amateur record and an impressive technical knockout victory over Courtney Simister in his first fight. Powell was not impressive in his victory in the first round of competition, but declared on Wednesday that he would be the winner.
Holmes came out looking for an early knockout victory to please his many fans from the Bruising Gym and got it quite easily, after only two minutes and 31 seconds of the first round. He caught Powell with a series of punches that rocked him and followed up with a solid right to the head. A left hook to the head as he was on his way to the canvas sealed the deal and Powell had to get medical attention to revive him after the knockout.
Two early stoppages can do Holmes no good, however, unless he can win all his fights early. As an amateur who only boxed three-round bouts, he needs to get rounds under his belt so that he can get through the eight- and 10-round fights that will come up in the semis and the finals, respectively. He did not fully utilise the opportunity presented and one can only wait to see what unfolds in the semis for him.
There were two competitive and entertaining amateur bouts, which saw English-based Jovan Young defeat Jonathan Hanson, and his counterpart Reece Shagourie defeat Michael Gardener. It was a good night's work for Hanson and Gardener, who will be travelling to Rio in May to compete in the Olympic trials there.