First joint community boxing tournament hosted in Jamaica

18/10/2018 – Nearly 300 residents packed the Denham Town Community Centre in Kingston, Jamaica on Saturday 6th October for the staging of the inaugural Gloves Over Guns community boxing tournament.

Hosted by the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control (JBB), in collaboration with Fight for Peace’s Unity and Peace (UP) programme and the Denham Town Community Development Committee (CDC), the event was endorsed by the Joint Command Task force of the Jamaica Constabulary and Defence Forces, currently overseeing the Zone of Special Operations in Denham Town.

Unity and Peace is the Jamaican arm of Fight for Peace’s Safer Communities Programme, which uses collective impact methodology to integrate multiple services and actors to prevent youth violence. Denham Town is one of six communities in the multi-partner programme in Kingston. Fight for Peace also operates a Safer Communities Programme in Cape Town, South Africa.

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The inaugural Gloves Over Guns tournament saw five fighters from the Fight for Peace coordinated programme face off against amateur boxers from other parts of Jamaica, all selected by the Jamaica Boxing Board. The card also included one exhibition bout between two young people representing the Unity and Peace team. All bouts were officiated and scored by the Jamaican Boxing Board while coaches from the Mixed Martial Arts Association of Jamaica, the Jamaica Taekwondo Association and Edusport (a games based literacy and numeracy programme) led demonstrations of other components of the multi-partner programme.

“It was a great night for our community,” says Yonique Campbell, member of the Denham Town Community Development Committee (CDC). “We had more than 20 boys come to sign up for boxing and a lot of people showing interest in joining the CDC.” The CDC and Fight for Peace coordinate free boxing and martial arts, personal development and education sessions every week in the community centre.

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Those fighters representing the Unity and Peace team were selected from multiple communities in the programme and included Champagnie Boxhill, Vinroy Coke, Tavoy Williams, Kirt Thomas, Jaheim Clarke and Kymani Dennis. Coke, Williams and Thomas emerged victorious while all of those competing did so with courage and determination.

For Assistant Superintendent of Police, Eron Samuels, the police liaison for social interventions, the tournament exceeded his expectations. “It was a fun-filled affair and the excitement was seen in the active involvement of the community members. [I] can’t wait for the next staging”, he said.

The Jamaican Boxing Board and Fight for Peace plan to continue the series with another community boxing tournament scheduled for December 2018.