Allicock to remain in amateur ranks; eyes on Paris 2024
By Avenash Ramzan
President of the Guyana Boxing Association, Steve Ninvalle, has started to plot the path to the Paris Olympic Games in 2024 for Keevin Allicock, as the boxer has opted to remain in the amateur ranks after his early exit from the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Allicock, widely regarded as Guyana’s best chance of medalling at the ongoing Games in Japan, suffered a Unanimous Decision defeat at the hands of Alexy Miguel de la Cruz of the Dominican Republic in the Round of 32 of the Men’s Featherweight (52-57kg) on Saturday morning at the Kokugikan Arena.
Ninvalle, speaking to News Room Sport after the bout, said the world number 19 and the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games silver medallist is keen on making amends at the next Olympic Games.
“Keevin has given me his word that he will be staying in the amateur ranks until the next Olympics, whether that is held in the next three years or four years,” Ninvalle commented.
“He would be matured as an amateur fighter. My plan is to have him exposed and other boxers exposed to the highest level of competition in the world, so that at his next sojourn at the Olympics he would be much better equipped than he was for this one.”
Despite Guyana being on the wrong side of the result, Ninvalle was high in praise for the 22-year-old and AIBA Three-Star Coach Sebert Blake.
Once the Olympic qualification was announced, Allicock and Blake ventured to Russia for a three-week, high-level training camp ahead of the Games, something Ninvalle and the Association felt was necessary to get the boxer in shape for the global showpiece.
“I take my hat off to Keevin and his Coach Sebert Blake. I think they have done a lot of work and we need to commend them for their focus, how tenacious he (Allicock) was in remaining in training,” Ninvalle reasoned.
“I’m sure the next time we will have better results. We’ve learnt; there are no losers here. Keevin has learnt a lot- the experience will do good for him and for Guyana.”
Commenting on the actual fight, Ninvalle, who is also the country’s Director of Sport, noted that the boxer “gave of his best, and that is what we were asking for.”
“I think he had a very competitive fight. The judges would have seen in their opinion that the boxer from the Dominican Republic won. That is something that we have to go away with, we have to accept. The good thing is Keevin has learnt a lot from being in this Olympic,” Ninvalle said.
Allicock was the aggressor from the opening round, as his taller opponent took a more sedate approach, moving around the ring in an attempt to avoid the Guyanese.
The judges all scored the opening round 10-9 in favour of de la Cruz, while four scored it 10-9 and one 10-8 in round two for the DR boxer.
Allicock did manage to pull things back in the third and final round, with four of the judges scoring 10-9 in his favour, while the other had it 10-9 for de la Cruz.
The judges were Beau Campbell of the USA, Radoslav Simon of Slovakia, Susann Kopke of Germany, Mansur Muhiddinov of Tajikistan and Shiromala Nelka Thampu of Sri Lanka. The referee was Carl Ruhen of Australia.
Allicock was the first Guyanese boxer to qualify for the Olympics in 25 years, following in the footsteps of John Douglas at the 1996 Games.
Incidentally, Guyana’s lone Olympic medal came from the sport of boxing at the 1980 Moscow Games when Michael Parris, 22 at the time, won a bronze in the Bantamweight division.