Leroy Brown, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Jonathan Hanson, Jam-aica's middleweight boxing champion from Tiger Gym, and welterweight champion Kestna Davis from Bruising Gym left the island last Thursday for Almaty, Kazakhstan, to participate in a training camp sponsored by the International Boxing Association (AIBA). The camp started yesterday and will end on October 10. They are accompanied by coach Carl Grant from Bruising Gym. They will then participate in the World Boxing Championships which takes place in Almaty from October 11 to 27.
Hanson, who reached the quarter-finals of the Olympic Trials in Brazil last year, and Davis, who is a promising 19-year-old boxer who still attends high school, were specially recommended by the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control to attend the training camp.
As part of their worldwide development programme, AIBA has invited various national federations to send specially selected boxers to undergo specialised training for a two-week period prior to the start of the World Championships so as to improve their skills and put them in a better position to win medals. AIBA will be paying all the expenses for the team to attend the training camp and the World Championships.
Boxing board president Stephen Jones has lauded this gesture from AIBA, and said that he was pleased that Jamaica had been given the opportunity to participate in the programme, which is called "the road to Almaty".
He said that he was sure that Jamaica's boxing would benefit on a long-term basis from this exposure. "We could not have afforded to send a team to this training camp or the championships, because the costs are high, so this gesture by AIBA is a good one for boxing. We are also thrilled that we are one of the countries selected to participate.
"This will help the sport to grow locally, because for two weeks these two promising boxers and their coach will receive special training from some of the best trainers in the world. They will therefore be better prepared to compete with distinction in the World Championships," he continued.
Coach Grant told The Gleaner that this would be a great learning experience for him and the boxers, and the benefits to Jamaica's boxing would be positive in the long term.