Coach Blake on Russia training: “It’s going excellent so far”


By Avenash Ramzan

Guyanese boxer Keevin Allicock is making significant progress in his three-week, high-level training camp in Russia ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games later this month.

The 22-year-old will compete in the Featherweight division instead of the regular Bantamweight, which has been removed by the International Olympic Committee.

Over the last week, Allicock has been upping the intensity as he seeks to get to peak condition for the July 23 to August 8 Games.

Coach Sebert Blake, speaking exclusively to News Room Sport, shared an update on the training thus far, indicating that the facilities in Russia are conducive to the Olympic-type training that is required.

AIBA Three-Star Coach, Sebert Blake (News Room photo/June 2021)

“It’s going excellent so far,” the AIBA Three-Star Coach declared.

“Everything is on point as it regards to training for elite athletes. So far we had two sets of sparring session; we had our first session with a 63kg fighter from the Democratic Republic of Congo, that session went excellent. We were able to utilise all three ranges of boxing that we are trying out, and yes we were successful.”

“We had a second sparring session with the 57kg boxer from the Dominican Republic. This is the same guy Keevin lost to by walkover in the 2019 Pan American trials in Nicaragua. The session was real great and intense; we had to match their aggression and work ethic and in the end Keevin was able to have him surrender.”

Blake was cautiously optimistic after that session, but he also spoke of the need to peak at the right time as the days and weeks count down to the Games.

Other sparring sessions are lined up against boxers of varying weight class from Jordan, Dominican Republic, Algeria, Botswana, Mauritius and Congo.

Blake, who is thankful to his employers the Guyana Power and Light for allowing him to fulfill his dream as an Olympic Coach, noted that Allicock’s recovery after sessions “is pretty good.”

“For me as a Coach it is a good sign. That shows that he is some good form, but we’re trying to keep it to a level so that he would be able to peak at the right time, and hopefully that’s in the Olympic itself,” Blake commented.

Allicock is ranked 19 in the world and seven in the Americas. Those rankings were crucial in him making the cut to the Games after the COVID-19 pandemic had forced a cancellation of many of the qualification events.

Notably, Allicock is the first Guyanese boxer to qualify for the Games in 25 years, the last being John Douglas in 1996.

There is optimism that Allicock become the first Guyanese to win an Olympic medal since fellow boxer Michael Parris won the country’s lone medal- a bronze- at the 1980 Moscow Games.

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