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Young boxers training on Kim Sha Beach

box_1~ Alexander keeps gloves on, sees future boxing champs ~

 

Claudette Alexander is a boxer. She earned money boxing professionally and while she may have “retired” two or three times, she keeps training – only now her emphasis is on the younger boxers. Alexander, who makes her living as a photographer and mechanic, spends her free time giving back to the sport she loves. She is currently preparing several fighters for “Eruption in Paradise” which comes to the island on May 30.

 

The boxing card, organized by Milton Ottley and BOSE Promotions, will feature both professional and amateur bouts at L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium. “At last, my kids are gonna have the opportunity to showcase their talent,” said Alexander, who was born in Dominica "land of many rivers” and moved to “the friendly island” in 1979. “We are training very hard and really want to box.”

 

BOXING IS a tough sport on St. Maarten. Alexander should know. Over the years, she has had fights cancelled at the last minute; she has been called to replace a fighter at the last minute and stepped into the ring knowing nothing about her opponent. She knows about the lack of equipment. She has trained for pro fights in her coach’s back yard. Yet she loves the sport and is now training future champions from her club she calls SXM Rock Boxing Club on Kim Sha Beach. Passing tourists and dogs both on and off leashes often stop their walk on the beach to watch as these young boxers exercise and spar on the sand.

 

Alexander first talked of retiring in 2010. After 10 years of boxing, she had eight fights. Her first bout was on St. Maarten in 1998 in what was then called the Great Bay Sports Auditorium. She won. "It was one of the toughest fights and the girl was one of my toughest opponents," recalls Alexander who has fought as both a bantamweight and later as a 122 pound junior-featherweight.

 

BUT DESPITE believing it was time to retire, she was already planning to be a trainer. “I wish we had somewhere appropriated to train, but we are happy it’s a start,” said Alexander. “The kids love me and I give them love. We are family now.” But make no mistake, despite the love, the Boxers will be ready for Eruption; “Three boys that are ready to fight and two for just exhibitions.”

 

Fighting will be 15-year-old Gilmar Densio, who goes by the ring name of Chaos. He weighs in at 158 pounds. Sixteen-year-old Stephan Duzong at 150 pounds and Shaguille Martilda at 185 pounds will also be climbing in the ring.

 

HOPING FOR exhibition bouts are 18-year-old left-hander Johnathon Salvador and 11-year-old Venizcio Sherwood. “We may not have a gym, but the sacrifice these kids make says a lot,” explains Alexander. “We are definitely working with future champions.”

 

The boxing card will of course feature pro fighters too. Topping the card will be Sonya Lamonakis. School teacher by day, Lamonakis is a 5-foot-7 and 220-pound powerhouse with a stinging left hook. She is the Women’s International Boxing Association’s third-ranked heavyweight, and holds the International Boxing Organization (I.B.O.) female Heavyweight title that she won by decision against Carlette Ewell in St. Maarten in December 6, 2014.

 

Now she will face Gwendolyn O’Neal from Guyana for the Universal Boxing Federation (U.B.F.) title. “I want to bring title fights to St. Maarten,” Ottley said. “But the real future of the sport is the local fighters. I would like to organize monthly fight nights just for the boxers here on the Island.”