Return of the `Dragons’
Steve Ninvalle
Steve Ninvalle

Republican Gym back for Novices

THE Guyana Prison Service Boxing Gym, popularly known as the Republican Gym, is next month set to make a celebrated return to activity, organised by the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA).

Jason Barker

This was disclosed yesterday by president of the GBA, Steve Ninvalle, who said that his association as well as boxing supporters across the country are eagerly waiting to welcome back the `Dragons’ into boxing.

The Republicans have been off the scene since last July after the Camp Street Prison was set alight by inmates. The correctional facility was completely destroyed and several of the prisoners had to be moved to far-flung locations resulting in logistical problems to get fighters to and from training.

“I am happy to inform that the `Dragons’ will be a part of the Andrew Lewis National Novices competition which is scheduled for next month-end. Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels is working assiduously towards making this a reality. The boxing fraternity is happy about their return as they bring a special and exciting brand of competition to the ring,” Ninvalle said.

“Their return is so important that we have pushed back the date of the National Novices from March to April in order to accommodate the prisoners,” Ninvalle added.
The GBA head reminded that it was only in 2014 that the Republican Gym came out swinging and in the process dethroned the Guyana Defence Force in the National Intermediate.

At that time Clifton Graham was named Best Boxer. That performance, coupled with a herculean effort from then Deputy Director of Prison Carl Graham, forced a noticeable advancement of the sport in the prisons.
“In December 2016, one of the most feared names in Caribbean boxing, Jason `AK 47’ Barker, led a team of Guyanese boxers to the Caribbean Championship.

Fighting out of the Republican Gym, Barker won a gold medal in the super heavyweight category and promptly created history by becoming the first inmate to be nominated for the Sportsman-of-the-Year Award,” Ninvalle declared.

“There are many other Jason Barkers in the prison just waiting to be discovered. With the Republican Gym back in action the unearthing of rough prison diamonds is made easier,” Ninvalle said. Barker was not able to defend his title in 2017.

The Andrew Lewis National Novices event is scheduled for April 27, 28 and 29 and would be the GBA’s first statutory competition for the year.


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