The final showdown
Two of Jamaica's future prospects for boxing stardom, 26-year-old Kemahl 'The Hitman' Russell and 27-year-old Richard 'Frog' Holmes, will clash tonight at the National Indoor Sports Centre, in a 10-round bout to decide who is the Wray & Nephew Middleweight Contender 2015.
The action starts at 7:30 with an amateur bout, following which there will be three professional contests. Supporting the main bout will be an eight-round bout between Sakima Mullings and Quincy Gomes and a six-round return contest between Edmond DeClou and Kevin Hylton.
Russell, who has a 6-0 record with four knockouts and Holmes 10-4 with five knockouts, were seeded at No. 4 and No. 3 respectively, but they defied the odds and defeated their higher-rated competitors. Russell gave a scintillating performance while taking out the No. 1 seeded boxer, and former Contender champion Devon Moncriffe, while Holmes had a very close victory over No. 2, Tsetsi Davis.
This has set up an intriguing final between two promising young fighters. The winner will take home $2 million in addition to the title belt, while the loser gets $500, 000. Third place in the competition has prize money of $250,000 attached to it and will go to the boxer who lost to the winner, so Moncriffe and Davis will hope that the boxer who beat them takes the top prize tonight. The fourth-place purse money is $200,000.
Tonight's fight promises to be an intriguing one. Both boxers improved as the competition progressed, and Russell ended on a high note when he scored a decisive victory over the always dangerous Moncriffe. It was the first time in a local fight that one saw Moncriffe holding on to avoid being hit.
Holmes also showed improvement as the series progressed, and silenced those persons who thought that he could not last eight rounds with Davis. He, too, earned new respect from the boxing public for his performance in the semi-final.
Russell's ability to dominate a fight from outside with his jabs will be an important factor tonight, and he showed in the bout with Moncriffe that he is also very efficient when the action is at close range. Holmes will have to devise a strategy that will allow him to counterattack, and put his opponent on the defensive.
The pattern of the fight will be seen clearly in the first two rounds, and it should be an exciting encounter if both men fight as well as they did in the semi-finals of the competition.
DeClou and Hylton met in the preliminary rounds, and Hylton won, but the victory was unpopular. DeClou will be trying to reverse that decision tonight, and he said yesterday that there is no doubt in his mind that he will win.
The Mullings fight against Gomes is seen as a warm-up for the former ahead of some important contests later this year. Mullings has much more experience and punching power than his younger opponent.