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By Neto Baptiste
A contingent of Antigua and Barbuda boxers combined for an overall haul of six medals at the recently completed Caribbean Boxing Championships held in Dominica, winning three gold, one silver and two bronze.
Kibwana James and Zalaan Jan both won gold medals in the early stages of the championships with Jan, fighting in the cruiser-weight, outpunching Barbados’ Tyrese Holder. James beat Dominica’s Typone Nicholas to claim the welterweight title.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo sports show, Jan said he was surprisingly very relaxed and ready for the challenge.
Amor Payne won silver while Taliek Henry fought his way to bronze to add to the country’s medal count.
“I am very nervous normally, like in the little exhibitions we have in Antigua, but for this one I just wasn’t and I was surprised. I was like, what could be wrong or is everything ok? But I went in there and I got the job done. My biggest concern is my conditioning and that’s what would make me confident. If my conditioning wasn’t up there I wouldn’t really be confident,” he said.
James exuded confidence, and reminded that he predicted he would have triumphed at the tournament.
“That’s light work, man; I expected that a long time ago and even since during Covid. I told coach I am going to bring back a gold medal to Antigua for sure and I was not surprised because I know I could do it,” the fighter said.
Meanwhile, two Antiguan boxers suited up for the host country, Dominica, with Joshua Toussaint winning gold in the elite division and Leon Laudat winning bronze. Toussaint was also crowned best overall fighter of the tournament.
Coach Anthony Severin said the results indicate that the program being used at the Uprising Boxing Gym is yielding results.
“It just shows that what we are doing here — and I don’t want to blow my own horn — but it is commendable for the guys as well because they would have put in the hard work, the dedication, the consistency and I just keep the doors open all the time so that they can express themselves.
“We need a bit more support for the athletes because that’s the way we need to go. We need to make sure we look into their health and they are better prepared in terms of nutrition, and that they have all the equipment that’s needed,” he said.
The team returned home on Sunday, and the trip to Dominica was supported by the Antigua and Barbuda Boxing Association (ABBA).
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