Leroy Brown, Gleaner Writer
For the second year in succession, the Jamaica Boxing Board-operated Stanley Couch gym came out the champions at the senior National Amateur Boxing Championships, which took place at that gym last Friday and Saturday, with a total of 18 points.
The championships were sponsored by Axe Anarchy deodorant. Middleweight Jonathan Hanson from the recently opened Tiger Gym was named the outstanding boxer of the tournament.
Bruising Gym from Stony Hill placed second with 16 points, Tiger Gym was third with 14, followed by Sugar Olympic, nine; Heavy Metal and Hard Knocks, eight each; G.C. Foster, seven and Boys' Town, four.
The eight gyms that participated had 70 boxers on display, including for the first time, seven females, who, although they are newcomers to the sport, showed that they have talent to succeed.
Stanley Couch's chief trainer, Richard 'Shrimpy' Clarke, who was named the outstanding trainer, and Kingsley Goodison, gym administrator, were elated at the success of their team, and said that it was a testament to the hard work that had been put into their training by the boxers over the past year.
not enough money
Goodison, however, lamented the fact that the financial resources available to the gym were inadequate and said that, "With proper funding - so that we can get the equipment that we need - we could turn out world champions over the next few years."
Competition was keen over the two days and there were a few surprises. Teenager Kestna Davis from Bruising Gym provided one of the highlights of the tournament by scoring two impressive victories. On Friday, he scored a dramatic first-round stoppage against Nickoy Jackson from Boys' Town; and then on Saturday, he outpointed the highly favoured Camion Goldson from Stanley Couch in an excellent bout, to take the Open Class welterweight title.
His performance was, however, eclipsed by that of the middleweight champion Jonathan Hanson, who outpointed Julian Johnson in the semi- final and then went on to defeat Bruising Gym's Michael Gardener, who scored a huge upset victory on Friday over English-based Reece Shagourie.
The Hanson-Gardener bout was one of the most competitive on the programme, but Hanson, who has been showing considerable improvement in recent months, connected with a solid right hook to the head in round three that hurt Gardener. Although he did not go down, he stumbled backward from the blow and even though he tried to camouflage how hurt he was, referee Peter Richards stepped in and gave him a standing eight-count.
The referee spoke briefly to Gardener and then called the fight off when he realised the fighter was still not in full possession of his faculties. Gardener was irate afterwards, however, declaring that he was not hurt. He then took off his gloves and head gear and threw them to the canvas in protest.
The referee explained afterwards that Gardener was, from his close observation, not able to continue because he was still unsteady on his feet after the eight count.
"To send him back out there would have been dangerous, so I stopped it," he said.
Trainer Carl Grant remonstrated with Gardener for his public show of dissent, but then gave a mixed signal when he and his team left the venue shortly afterwards.
This action on his part denied Dwayne Blake, another boxer from his gym, the opportunity to fight for the Open Class super-heavyweight title which was scheduled for half an hour later.