New gym has knock out potential

Boxing in Cayman is set to soar mainly because the new state-of-the-art gym is becoming a magnet to aspiring champions. Ron Shillingford reports.
 
Had the Government built a dedicated boxing gym years ago when Dalmain ‘Dee Dee’ Ebanks toiled to get one erected and set troublesome kids on the right path, there would probably be more than one world class fighter in Cayman right now.
 
As an unruly child Charles ‘The Killa’ Whittaker was directed away from juvenile delinquency through Ebanks channelling his excessive energies into boxing.
 
Seven years after the venerable coach passed away, the D Dalmain Ebanks Boxing Gymnasium beside the Truman Bodden Sports Complex is thriving and Whittaker is one contest away from a world title shot.
 
He takes on the extremely dangerous Venezulan Marco Antonio Avendano at the Lion Centre on 8 May.
 
Avendano has lost two close decisions to the WBA light-middleweight interim champ Nobuhiro Ishida in the last couple of years.
 
If he beats Avendano, Whittaker – undefeated for six years – will get a chance at Japan’s Ishida in Cayman and the opportunity to earn the sort of money he always dreamed of.
 
The 36-year-old West Bayer was at the last amateur boxing show at the gym last month, working in the corner for some fighters and encouraging them the same way Ebanks lovingly did with him.
 
Coach Nayon ‘Donie’ Anglin has seen Whittaker come through the ranks and with the new $1.2 million gym – which he rates as the best in the Caribbean – Cayman could easily produce several fighters for the London Olympics in 2012 then emulate Whittaker in the pro ranks. 
 
Dariel Ebanks, Kendall Ebanks and Jason Parchment (Anglin’s son) are the likeliest to get to the Olympics. Females will be able to box in London too so there is a growing interest there as well.
 
Whittaker’s trainer Norman Wilson coaches school kids, teenagers and adults alike. With Wilson’s help, Anglin believes Cayman could become the Caribbean’s foremost boxing destination.
 
“Since the gym opened last year we’ve had a steady flow of children aged 12 or older coming after school,” Anglin said. “We have a total of about 35 coming every week already and about a third of them are females.
 
“Once we get more equipment and improve the quality of what’s there, we’ll be able to attract a lot more talent. My dream is for Cayman to be synonymous with world class boxing.”
 
The last show pitted mostly Caymanians against four fighters from the Bahamas and a Jamaican.
 
The Bahamian coaches were impressed. One of them, Arthur Missick, said: “I think the show went great. It was a good experience for all our young boxers, especially the light-heavyweight, Andy Moxley, because it was his first time in the ring. (Moxley lost to Dariel Ebanks).
 
“He got beaten but we wanted him to get the experience. The main thing is to get the experience and exposure.”
 
The Bahamians went to India the following week before heading back home to prepare for a trip to Trinidad and then got ready for the visit of Cayman’s boxers and some US Virgin Island fighters over the Easter weekend.
 
Merrick loves Cayman’s boxing set up and hopes it can produce some female boxers to take on his best in the future.
 
The last big pro show held here was the Cayman Knockout in 2008. If Anglin and Whittaker get their wishes, Cayman will be a boxing magnet relatively quickly and the TV millions, tourism revenue and ancillary income will more than justify the outlay for Dee Dee’s vision.

NewgymSM

Anglin believes Cayman can become the Caribbean’s most recognised boxing destination.

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