Contender Boxing returns with ‘Best of the Best’ edition

The Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum Contender Boxing Series returns to the Chinese Benevolent Association tonight for what is touted its most ambitious slate of boxers to be brought together for a “Best of the Best” showdown between Jamaican and Canadian boxers.

The Wray and Nephew Contender Boxing Series is geared toward promoting Jamaica’s growing boxing talent against comparable talent from beyond its shores.

The innovators and prime movers of the local boxing culture — the series executive producer Mark Kenny and the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control — have selected eight of the best available talent from amongst Jamaica’s most accomplished boxers to challenge eight Canadians of comparable skills. They will vie for the title of Jamaica’s Ultimate Junior Middleweight Contender and a share of $3,000,000 prize money.

The eventual winner will pocket $2,000,000. The runner-up will earn $500,000; third place $250,000 and fourth place $200,000.

Sakima Mullings, the Contender winner three seasons ago, is the number one seed. He is set to open the Jamaican challenge against Winston “The Punisher” Matthews over five rounds tonight.

The first and second stages of the Contender ceries will be fought over five rounds; the semi-final stages over seven rounds; and the final scheduled for 10 rounds.

Fresh from a 12-round split decision loss in a title fight in Ghana some five weeks ago, Mullings promises to be at his fighting best.

“I am in the best shape of my boxing life. All I had to do to keep my fitness was not to take a break from my fight in Ghana, but to continue the training process. I will enter the ring at 154 lbs, fit and ready and one can expect all the things that one comes to know of Sakima Mullings in the ring. I will be fast, I will be strong, I am going to be pretty. I am going to hit hard and each time I enter the ring my objective is to win,” Mullings said.

The number one seed has a ring record of 22 fights with 19 wins against three defeats.

Not much is known about his opponent Matthews other than he has had three fights with one win by technical knockout and two draws. He is said to be a strong puncher with a ferocious right.

“When I enter the ring I am in there to win,” said Matthews.

Mullings is being prepared for his fights at present by trainer Gilbert Vaz and manager/advisor Willie Yap.

Jamaica’s other top four fighters include Richard Holmes, who reached the last two Contender finals, and is seeded at number two. He has a ring record of 18 fights with 12 wins and six defeats.

Tsetsi Davis, who has also reached two Contender finals, is the third seed with a ring record of 21 fights, 16 wins and five defeats.

Former Contender winner Devon Moncriffe is seeded fourth and has a ring record of 18 fights with 12 wins and six losses.

Team Jamaica will be completed by Ricardo Planter, who has a ring record of 16 fights with six wins, eight losses and two draws; Ramel Lewis, who has a ring record of 12 fights with seven wins and five defeats; Canada-based Gregory Miller, who had one fight with one loss; and the promising amateur Nico Yeyo, who will make his pro debut.

Phil Rose, with a ring record of 11 fights with six wins, four losses and a draw, will spearhead the Canadian challenge. Ryan Young, with a ring record of 11 fights with 10 wins and one draw, is seeded at two.

Ryan Wagner, with a ring record of 10 fights with six wins and four defeats, is the third seed and Frank Cotroni, who has a ring record of 20 fights with 11 wins, eight defeats and a draw, is seeded fourth.

Team Canada is completed by Larone White, undefeated with two wins; Mike Breton, with a ring record of two fights with one win and one loss; Dave Leblond, with one fight and one loss; and Winston Matthews.



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