We all know football is King in Mabouya Valley but for one night anyway boxing took center stage, as the St Lucia Amateur Boxing Association (SLABA) staged a boxing exhibition dubbed “Valley Punch Off.” A massive crowd turned out in La Ressource Mabouya Valley on Sunday for boxing taking place later that evening, following the Third Place Playoff and Finals of the Honourable Shawn Edward Football Competition.
One thing’s for sure, don’t ever believe the SLABA when they use the word exhibition. Sunday was anything but that. That evening’s boxers took the sport very seriously and some bouts were all out war. Referees, on more than one occasion, had to caution over exuberant boxers who seemed determined to win at all costs. There were several bouts featuring a number of top boxers including Lyndell “The Russian” Marcellin, Darius Cetoute, Arthur Langelier, Kygan Mortley, Ron Bastien, Travis Maynard and the list goes on. A welcome addition, were two boxers from the Vieux Fort Boxing Gym.
Special guests in attendance included Minister of Youth Development and Sports, Shawn Edward; Permanent Secretary, Fortuna Belrose; and officials with the SLABA. And oh yes, how can I forget the two lovely ring girls courtesy of Choice Sports.
Commenting on the boxing exhibition Edward said: “I am obviously thrilled by what transpired this evening. This is precisely what you envisage when you speak about mobilization at the community level where sports is concerned. For those persons who have followed sports in the Mabouya Valley for years, what you notice is that it has been predominantly cricket and football. For a number of years we have struggled to diversify our sports portfolio.”
With that in mind, Edward was thrilled to have the SLABA stage the boxing exhibition in Mabouya Valley. He feels the exhibition sensitized the youngsters and predicted that in the future, quite a few of them will enroll in the national boxing program.
The minister also mentioned the possibility of establishing a gym in the valley, which would provide them with an opportunity to compete on the national stage and beyond. The next boxing exhibition takes place November 24 at the Vigie Multi-Purpose Complex.