Sports

Salas faces 'Concrete' in Contender semis

BY HURBUN WILLIAMS
Observer writer

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

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“I have never been better prepared for a fight than I am for this Contender series,” declared Devon “Concrete” Moncriffe, who goes up against his Team Canada counterpart Ricardo Salas in the second semi-final for the right to face Richard “Frog” Holmes in the Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum Contender Boxing Series final for the welterweight title in another two weeks.

The Moncriffe vs Salas semis will highlight a three-fight card with two tough amateur fights opening the programme at the Chinese Benevolent Association beginning at 8:30 pm.

Holmes earlier advanced to the final from a split-decision result against Team Canada's Dave Leblond a week ago.

The eighth staging of the Contender Series is a 15-fight saga between teams from Jamaica and Canada of eight fighters each with the eventual winner pocketing the major share of a $3,000,000 purse along with the Wray & Nephew Contender Boxing title.

The tournament lasted for 15 weeks with the preliminary rounds fought over five rounds, the semi-final over seven, while the final to be fought over 10 rounds.

At age 41, Moncriffe is the oldest fighter in the contest and has won the Contender title before. On the other hand, Salas is half his age and is holding a first round knockout result over him which he delivered late last year at the Toronto Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Canada.

Moncriffe said, “I will not yield this time around”, as he is also eyeing to join Sakima Mullings to become the second boxer to win the Contender title twice.

Moncriffe was also contrite, saying that he does not see this fight as revenge for what took place last year against Salas. “Sometimes you are offered a fight which you accept. So, you may just make the weight and what happen, happen knowing that you are not prepared as I went in the ring at a body weight of 154lb then.

“However, for this competition, I am well prepared and weighed in at a body weight of 144Żlb. Frankly, I do not see this fight as a revenge fight. I am just going out there to express myself. I am not taking anything away from him (Salas), but I have trained very hard for this fight, as I have a job to do, and that is to win this fight,” Moncriffe promised.

One of his trainers, Gilbert Vaz, spoke to the fact that Moncriffe will be fighting some 2Ż pounds lighter than is required.

“Being lighter will be an advantage, as he will pack more power in his punches as he will be much stronger,” Vaz said.

Moncriffe has a ring record of 23 bouts, 14 wins with six knockouts, eight losses with four knockouts, and one draw, but he plans to improve. To get to this stage of the contest, Moncriffe secured a fourth-round knockout win over Canadian Waseem El-Sinawi and then showed he was getting there with his fitness.

Salas also weighed in at 144Żlb and is coming also to win, he said through interpreter Daniel Chacko-Wilmot: “I have trained very hard and will be putting everything into the fight. In the same way Moncriffe is better prepared for this fight it is the same way I have prepared for this fight. I am well prepared, and it is going to be a good fight. I feel very well prepared. The best I have prepared so far and I am ready for seven rounds. I have come here only to win.”

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