A paradigm shift in local boxing is set to begin on Saturday as the Wray & Nephew Fights boxing series kicks off at the Cling Cling Oval in Olympic Gardens.
The Fight Nights series, a collaboration between Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum and the Jamaica Boxing Board, welcomes both local and overseas-based amateur and professional boxers.
There will be a fight card every six weeks. Each card in the series will showcase eight bouts, with amateur fights consisting of three rounds and professional fights starting at four rounds.
Winners of the professional matches have the opportunity to claim a purse beginning at US$150 per round, with a total match purse of US$600 per fight. Initially, the judging panel will comprise local officials, but as the tournament progresses, overseas officials will also be included.
Fight Nights follows the well-received Contender Series, previously sponsored by Wray & Nephew for eight years until their sponsorship ended four years ago. Unlike the Contender Series, where boxers were eliminated after each round until a grand finale, Fight Nights will allow boxers to compete multiple times.
The professional bout will feature Jamaican Jermaine Richards facing American Stephen Kimon in a heavyweight contest. Kimon is a replacement for Omar Edmund, who withdrew from the fight due to an injury.
The action-packed eight-fight card is scheduled to commence at 6:00 pm.
Richards, hailing from Kingston, holds a professional record of 2-0 and aims to improve it to 3-0 on Saturday. Popularly known as Breezy, Richards revealed that he entered the world of boxing because of his grandfather’s love for the sport.
“My grandfather loved watching boxing. He would record every boxing match, and that’s how I fell in love with the sport.”
Managed by I Fight Promotions, the tall and powerfully built fighter expressed excitement about being part of the event at its recent launch and expressed a desire to showcase his skills.
“Boxing is my life. Without it, I wouldn’t have a life. It has transformed me physically and mentally. My ultimate dream is to become the number one heavyweight boxer in Jamaica and achieve global recognition.”
Now 34 years old, Richards has been involved in boxing since he was 25.
“Boxing has shown me that I can surpass my current self, so I am pursuing my dream.”
Patience is the most significant character trait Richards has developed through boxing, he revealed. The father of three acknowledges that the sport has helped him stay grounded.
“I have to maintain a positive mindset, stay focused, and accomplish all my dreams so that my children can have the life I didn’t have,” he said.
The amateur bouts are as follows: Chevon ‘Rage’ Gordon vs Kevon McKenzie, Kirk Clarke vs Akeem ‘Dream’ Mignot, Kimarley ‘LG’ Marley vs Delano ‘Macka’ McLaughlin, Vinroy Coke vs Ian Flemming, Jahmari ‘Wata Man’ Frazer vs David ‘Dancing Bomber’ Barnaby, Calvin Mignot vs Joshua Kid, and Juzier ‘Iron Man’ Heron vs Darron ‘Avatar’ Weir.