…Suarez fails in Olympic Pro bid

T&T’s Nigel Paul poses with former heavyweight boxer Riddick Bowe.

Nigel Paul, the lone T&T boxer participating at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later this year, has intensified his preparation in the United States, receiving critical advice from former world champion boxers and coaches.

Paul, the super heavyweight boxer who booked his spot at the Olympics by virtue of finishing among the top two at the Americas Qualifiers in Argentina earlier this year, has been receiving much needed encouragement, mentoring and coaching from the former heavyweight fighters Riddick Bowe, Shannon Briggs, and Michael Moorer, one of only four men to win one or more versions of the world heavyweight championship on three separate occasions, as well as being a former world light heavyweight champion and coach Norman Wilson.

Yesterday, vice president of the T&T Amateur Boxing Association, Reynold Cox said Paul has been receiving all the help he could possibly get ahead of action at the Olympics. He believes the local super heavyweight champion, who secured a berth in Rio in only his tenth career fight, has a strong chance of winning a medal. He will be one of three boxers to wear the red, white and black at the Olympics.

Cox was hoping that Paul would have been joined by Carlos Suarez, the American-born boxer with T&T parentage, who qualified back in 2012 and gave a good showing, before being eliminated in the third round. The young T&T boxer, who turned professional a couple years ago, failed to qualify for the Olympics a second time after being beaten in his first fight of the APB/WSB Olympic Qualification Event in Vargas, Venezuela, earlier this month (July 3-8).

The light flyweight T&T fighter lost to Argentina’s Leandro Blanc to exit the lone professional Olympic qualifier that was commissioned by the AIBA in June.

Cox said his association had embarked on a programme to qualify local fighters to the Olympics, following Suarez’s qualification in 2012. “In think that programme accounted for Paul booking a spot in Rio, but we were unlucky not to have another boxer there, such as either Michael Alexander or Aaron Prince, who performed with credit at the last qualifier in Baku, Azerbaijan, recently.”

Alexander defeated world ninth-ranked Elian Dimitrov of Bulgaria and later Dorian Busca, the European youth champion from Maldova in his second fight. He was eventually ousted by China’s Shan Jung in his third fight. Cox said despite the losses he was satisfied with their performances, noting they left their mark in the eyes of the world.

He told the Guardian their next step will be to produce a strong team to dominate the Caribbean Championship in Barbados in December.