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Quality sparring awaits T&T boxers in Cuba

Published: 
Thursday, February 11, 2016
National boxer Aaron Hassette, left, battles Kermin Jiminez Pichardo of Dominican Republic during the Tuesday Night Boxing at the Castle series at the residence of former West Indies batsman Brian Lara at Lady Chancellor Hill in Port-of-Spain, on January 19. Hassette and three other T&T boxers will spar against international boxers in Cuba in the coming weeks. PHOTO: ANTHONY HARRIS

Four of T&T’s national boxers including welterweight Aaron Prince will leave this country on Monday for Cuba where they will spar against quality opposition in preparation for the first Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualifier in Argentina from March 8-20.

Prince, who won a bronze medal at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Puerto Rico in 2010, will be accompanied by middleweight Andrew Fermin, junior welterweight Aaron Hassette and featherweight Anthony Joseph in Cuba.

T&T Defence Force member Hassette and World Class Boxing Gym member Joseph both showed promise at the Tuesday Night Boxing at the Castle series in January held at the residence of former West Indies batsman Brian Lara. Fermin is trying to regain top form, which saw him win silver medals at the CAC Games in 2006 and 2010.

President of the T&T Amateur Boxing Association Cecil Forde explained that the T&T Olympic hopefuls will receive quality sparring, as boxers from Brazil, Russia and Venezuela among others will be training in Cuba ahead of the Olympic qualifiers. It has been a busy year for the T&T boxers. Following the three-leg Tuesday Night Boxing at the Castle series, the boxers have been participating in a live-in camp in Chaguanas since February 1.

While the four T&T boxers are in Cuba, national lightweight Michael Alexander will travel to USA with other T&T athletes for a fitness and evaluation camp at the Michael Johnson Performance Centre, while super heavyweight Nigel Paul will train with the Swedish national boxing team in Sweden. Alexander won bronze medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland and at the 2014 CAC Games in Mexico, while Paul was a gold medal winner at the Caribbean Boxing Championships in Guyana last November.

Alexander and Paul will join the quartet of T&T boxers for the Olympic qualifiers in Argentina. If the T&T boxers are successful at the first qualifier they will compete at the World Olympic qualifier in Azerbaijan from June 7-19 for a chance to participate in Rio.