Trinidad and Tobago coach backs Jamaican boxer's Olympic quest

Jamaican boxer Tevoy Barrett (R) in action at the 2023 CAC Games in El Salvador. Photo courtesy Tevoy Barrett  -
Jamaican boxer Tevoy Barrett (R) in action at the 2023 CAC Games in El Salvador. Photo courtesy Tevoy Barrett -

Duane Mitchell, coach of Trinidad and Tobago-based Jamaican boxer Tevoy Barrett, says his 23-year-old fighter has the potential to be a “world champion” one day, and he is eager to book a spot on the Jamaican team for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Barrett, who turns 24 on February 20, will soon leave TT’s shores for his homeland for the Jamaica national championships which punches off on February 22. At the championships, the middleweight fighter is aiming to be among a select few who will compete at a tournament in Dominica as he vies to cement a spot in Paris.

Mitchell, who first started coaching Barrett two years ago, operates the Mitch Athletics gym in Chaguanas. At the Longdenville-based gym, Barrett trains alongside fighters such as Neraj Mahadeosingh, Vanessa Sankar and Kel Sobers. At TT’s national boxing championships which were held at the Southern Regional Indoor Sports Arena, Pleasantville last month, Mahadeosingh won his youth male 57kg featherweight final against Anferney Baptiste – adding to the national junior featherweight title he won in 2022.

Also at last month’s national championships in Pleasantville, Barrett and Mitchell had hoped for the Jamaican fighter to square off against TT Olympic boxer Aaron Prince. Mitchell said, although Barrett could not further his Olympic qualifying push by fighting at TT’s national championships, it was previously agreed for the Jamaican to fight the winner of the 71kg weight class – who turned out to be Prince.

Mitchell said Barrett was registered for the bout in mid-December, and he also completed the necessary weigh-in and medical procedures ahead of the final night of competition on January 21.

Mitchell told Newsday, “Prince showed up an hour after the event started and we found out he was not competing again.

“All the sacrifices Tevoy would have (made) in terms of training and travelling back-and-forth to come and train, and being placed on a specific diet to make the weight, all that went in vain.”

Mitchell said Barrett was robbed of the opportunity to fight Prince at the national championships for the second straight year, as he pointed to a weigh-in issue at the previous tournament.

“It would not have helped him to go directly forward (to the Olympics) in that sense, but it would have given him the opportunity to showcase his ability. I was planning to record and send it to his coach back in Jamaica to see the standard he is at right now.

“Aaron Prince is somebody who has represented the TT team. He is somebody who has competed against a certain level of opponent and has been against different opponents. For Tevoy to rival him in the ring and give him a good showing and even win the fight, would have augured well for Tevoy.”

At 35, Prince represented TT at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021. Competing in the 69-75kg middleweight category, Prince had a first-round exit when he was beaten on points by Slovakian boxer Andrej Csemez. The 25-year-old Csemez has copped medals at both the European Games and the European Union Championships.

Prince and seven other TT boxers are currently in Alicante, Spain for a training camp and tournament as they ramp up preparations for this year’s Olympic qualifiers which commence in Italy on February 29.

On Friday, Newsday reached out to Prince via WhatsApp to get his comments on the claims made by Barrett’s camp. However, at press time, there was no response forthcoming from the boxer.

Mitchell believes in Barrett’s quality and he said he deserves his own Olympic shot.

“I am also trying to line up a potential sponsor for him,” Mitchell said. “That is one of the things which temporarily went out of the window when he did not get to fight (Prince last month). Someone was there that night and wanted to see him compete.”

Barrett said, “I want a chance to be fairly picked to compete to make it to the Olympics.”

Mitchell called on Prince to give Barrett his fair shot in the ring.

“I believe they know what Tevoy is capable of. Tevoy is naturally powerful. And once guided correctly in terms of developing his explosiveness, his reaction time and conditioning, making him that complete package – he will be a force to be reckoned with.

“He has potential to go very far. He has the potential to become a world champion, and I am not saying that because he is under me.”

Barrett, a former Caribbean Championship gold medallist, holds a 10-4 record.


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