Darrell: The future looks bright
Troy Darrell believes the Fight Night Champion card, featuring three Bermudian professionals, is a sure-fire sign that the island's boxing scene is in rude health.
Nikki Bascome, who will face England's Ryan Oliver in the main event, will be joined by debutants Andre Lambe and Michael Parsons in what promises to be a thrilling night of action at the Fairmont Southampton on Saturday.
It will be the first time three local professionals have been on the same card since Teresa Perozzi's final bout, a defeat against American Kali Reis, at the same venue in November 2014.
Also fighting that night were Bascome, who defeated Canadian Joe Marchand, and debutant Chioke Tucker, who lost by knockout to Canadian Martello Jones.
Troy Darrell, the island's most successful prizefighter, feels that Bermudian boxing is in the best shape its been since his heyday in the 1980s when Olympic medal-winner Clarence Hill was also gracing the world scene at heavyweight.
“I'm happy to see young Bermudians [like Lambe] turn professional because it's keeping boxing alive [in Bermuda], said Darrell, who has been helping prepare Lambe for his bout against Canadian Mat Hinchey.
“Before my time, boxing was popular on the island and then it started to slow down until me and Clarence brought it up. It went down again for a time, but right now it's back on the way up. I'm happy that these guys are getting the opportunities that they're getting.
“Back in my day, it was never like this. They are a lot of gyms around now and these guys are getting rewarded for it.”
Darrell, who won 26 of his 29 pro bouts, is confident Lambe will make a winning start to life in the paid ranks against fellow debutant Hinchey.
“I've been working with Andre here and there over the years,” he added. “Pelon [Andrade] is his trainer and mentor, and I've just been helping out.
“Andre has improved a lot. He's been trying to implement some new things and as far as I'm concerned he's ready.
“In this game you want to get in and get out at a young age. It's a good move for him. It's a big step, but it's all about the individual.”
Darrell, who fought times 20 times in the United States before his first bout in Bermuda, said it is important the island's professionals eventually step out of their comfort zone and test themselves overseas.
“Somewhere down the line, if [Andre] wants to try and be an elite fighter, he will have to focus on just boxing,” he added. “You need to eat, sleep and drink boxing; that's your job.
“We will see what Andre has [against Hinchey]. It's OK fighting in Bermuda where you have the home crowd, but at some stage you have to go overseas where people will be cheering for your opponent. It's OK to fight in Bermuda but these guys have to go overseas. That's where you get your most exposure.”