For the first time, no boxing gold for Seychelles |27 July 2019
It was a bleak night for Seychelles boxing as none of the three fighters who stepped into the ring could win a gold medal at the Indian Ocean Islands Games, something no one could have ever imagined.
Inside the packed National Boxing Centre in Vacoas, Mauritius, Seychellois boxers Andrique Allisop, Shain Boniface and Jovette Jean just could not find the right combination to tame the Mauritians who captured seven gold medals, probably the best ever for a team at the Games.
Seychelles’ best harvest – six gold medals – came in 1979 in Reunion and 1990 in Madagascar, while the previous worst was one gold medal in 1998 in Reunion.
A fourth Seychellois boxer, Keddy Agnes, qualified for the final in style with a knockout win against Reunionnais Romain Ticane, but he did not step into the ring as he had not been feeling well of late.
The Mauritians won seven gold medals out of the nine that were up for grabs.
Fighting in the light welterweight (64kg) category, IOIG 2011 gold medallist and silver medallist in 2015, Allisop lost 1-4 to the more agile Richarno Colin, while Boniface, who was making his first appearance in the Games, could not get the better of Merven Clair who beat him 5-0 in the welter weight (69kg) final.
Seychelles’ hopes for a gold medal rested on Jean in the light heavyweight division (81kg) who was making his third appearance at the Games. At the end of the three rounds, the judges scored the fight 3-2 in favour of Jean Christophe Otendy of Mauritius.
Ten bouts from 49kg to +90kg (super heavyweight) were on the programme for the night and host country Mauritius had entries in all 10 categories. But only nine bouts took place as Agnes’ fight against Kennedy Saint Pierre did not take place as the former was and is still being admitted in hospital for observation for some medical problems since Thursday.
According to the international boxing association (Aiba) rule, if a boxer hasn’t thrown a punch and his opponent is also not present in the ring for the forfeited match, he is not awarded with the gold medal. So Saint Pierre was not awarded the gold medal thus leaving Agnes to win the silver medal and Romain Ticane from Reunion took the bronze medal.
Vice-President Vincent Meriton, who arrived in Mauritius yesterday afternoon to bring his support to the athletes on behalf of the Seychelles government, was among the large crowd of spectators at the finals. He also presented medals to the winners as did Mauritian Primer Minister Pravind Jugnauth.
VP Meriton said his support towards sports will always be there as he is a firm believer in developing potentials and nurturing talents.
He added that as soon as he landed in Mauritius he went straight to Grand Baie where Allan Julie won the Laser Standard series and also went to see the women’s basketball semifinal where Seychelles lost to Madagascar.
VP Meriton also commented on the boxing finals, noting that it is the first time in the history of the Indian Ocean Islands Games that Seychelles does not win a gold medal in boxing.
He noted that it is important for Seychelles to invest in preparing for a new generation of boxers to repeat the feat of the old generations of the eighties and nineties.
Thirty-five-year-old Jean was very disappointed for not winning his fight.
“I had wanted to retire on a good note with a gold medal but things have turned the other way round. I cannot do anything about it as it happens in boxing. I did return to boxing just to motivate the other boxers but now it will be definite,” said Jean who won the gold medal at the IOIG in 2003 and 2011 and a silver medal in 2015. To reach the final Jean won by RSC (referee stopped contest) over Jafeta Tsimagniry from Madagascar.
“I feel very disappointed that we didn’t win a gold medal but I don’t think that Jovette lost his fight. The judges did not judge that fight correctly,” said boxing coach Rival Payet who noted that on the whole he was very satisfied with the performances of his athletes.
“Boxing is an Olympic sport but if boxing in Seychelles continues to remain in the current situation I don’t think we will see an increase in the number of boxers to take part in the 2023 Indian Ocean Islands Games. We had three finalists today and we used to have more in the past, but in this current situation we might be lucky if we do get two to qualify,” said Payet.
To reach the final Allisop edged Bertrand Pasquin from Reunion 3-2 in his first fight. Allisop was a gold medallist in the 2011 IOIG in Seychelles when he beat 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Bruno Julie from Mauritius.
“I felt better during this bout than the last one, since it was my first bout after a long time. In this one, I kept my cool and I managed to complete all three rounds without any problem and even now after the fight I do not feel tired. He is more experienced than me and was boxing in front of his home crowd. I personally made a few mistakes which allowed him to score some vital points against me,” said Allisop.
Agnes won his first IOIG gold medal in Seychelles in 2011 and his second gold medal came in 2015 in Reunion. He knocked out Romain Ticane from Reunion in the semifinal for the match-up against Saint Pierre in the final.
Agnes’ appearance in the final was in doubt after he fell ill on Thursday and was admitted to hospital. He recovered in time to compete and to win the gold medal yesterday. It is to be noted that Saint Pierre did not throw a punch to reach the final as he won a bye straight into the final.
Making his first appearance at the Games, Boniface booked his place in the welterweight (69kg) final after a dominant three-round 5-0 victory over Sebastien Hoareau from Reunion.
Nelson Molle was awarded with his bronze medal following his defeat by knockout at the hands of François Rabenandrasana from Madagascar in the heavyweight (90kg) division.
Patrick Joubert in Mauritius