What next for the Soca Warriors?
I suppose that the answer to that question is more complicated than losing a football match or even a regional tournament.
Boxing has long been considered a man’s sport. Over the years however, women boxers worldwide have proven that that line of thinking is rather incorrect, and locally, the women boxers have once again started attracting attention.
Last weekend, the T&T Boxing Association hosted a two-day Novice Championship in an effort to give new, young and upcoming boxers an opportunity to gain experience in their sport of choice.
On Saturday, 15-year-old Faith Ramnath of Fine Line Fight Factory made her debut in the amateur arena. With an unassuming demeanour and a soft childlike smile, the young boxer seemed an unlikely match for her more mature, muscled and aggressive opponent, Alicia King from the Biomel Boxing Gym. When the bell rang, Ramnath had to survived a barrage of punches, as King came out swinging. But Ramnath’s face then hardened into a fixed expression as she put her jab to use, ploughing through King’s defence.
With some determined steps forward and well put together lefts and rights, Ramnath took control. The referee issued two standing eight counts to King in the first round, and two more in the second round, thereby ending the bout. Ramnath’s grit and confidence earned her a standing ovation.
She’s been in the sport for just three months, coming into the sport with a background of being a swimmer. Her fitness, commitment and determination persuaded her coaches Ria Ramnarine and Bharrath Ramoutar that she was ready to step into the square ring.
The excitement of her Saturday night victory was a bit short lived as Ramnath lost her second bout the next day, in a closely contested match against another young boxer, Aleisha King of Siparia. The split decision by the judges showed just how evenly matches the boxers were. However, both the coaches and the boxer see it a positive. The youngster tasted both victory and defeat, now it can only get better onwards.
In addition, another two women wooed the crowd in the penultimate bout of event. This time it was Shantel Adams and Tianna Guy who put on a classic boxing show. Guy, making her debut, was put through the process of getting ready for combat, not knowing prior to the bout that she was matched against her gym mate. As it is, the coaches ensured both girls got ring time and therefore gained some experience.
Adams was impressive with her combinations, speed and power. Guy defensive techniques and “never say die” attitude was applauded. From the outside, no one could tell that it was a bout between gym mates. The women gave it their all in the ring.
National coach Ramnarine said women’s boxing is somewhat on the rise in T&T, slowly but surely. “We have had more participants in recent months, now collectively we have to keep the momentum going. It is sometimes a chicken and egg syndrome - the lack of female boxers causes a lack of competition (incentives) and the lack of competition causes the ones training to lose interest.
Head coach of Fine Line and assistant to the national women team, Ramoutar, stated that he was quite pleased with the showing over the weekend. “Not just the Fine Line girls, but all the females showed good potential and it bodes well for the future of women’s boxing in T&T”.