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The community in Antigua that holds literal boxing matches on Boxing Day

Boxing Day match in Pointe (IPB photo)

Pointe residents jump up to music from Burning Flames sang by Clarence “Oungku” Edwards, who chiefs them on with throwback songs from the top of a small truck.

By now, the music truck would have been on the road for almost four (4) hours, while in the centre of the community organisers begin to block the road in preparation for a boxing match.

But it isn’t just any boxing match. This is a decades-old tradition carried on in the Pointe community for as long as anyone could remember.

I’ve never really dwelled on the meaning of Boxing Day … it was just another day that my boss couldn’t demand that I clock in before 9am and clock out after 5pm.

But for many people in this urban community, it is the highlight of the end of year holidays.

From morning, they have begun to gather on Bakers Corner. On their walk down, they are greeted by a billboard In Loving Memory of one of the most notable boxers to enter the ring.

Evette “Mamin” King

Evette “Mamin” King was born on October 7, 1942, and died on December 4, 2020.

A 67-year-old man who goes by the name of Alfred Shaw said she was a force to contend with. “She used to fight with man,” he said jokingly.

He also said that having a literal boxing match on Boxing Day started even before he was born.

Khalid Shabazz, a former boxer and organiser of the famous Boxing Day match said his father once organized the event but today, it’s his job.

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“The preparation behind this starts from about 5 o’clock in the morning” … one Boxing Day, traditionally we have a J’ouvert that starts around 6 o’clock. From six up until 12 o’ clock, at 12 o’clock we actually start the boxing,” he said.

Traditionally, residents would form a human ring around the boxers on Barkers Corner but improvements have been made to accommodate a physical ring which is erected on the day.

“We took it to another level, the actual physical boxing” … “and I think in some sense it’s a nice thing. It allows individuals who may have a beef or friends who think they can fight each other or duke it out with each other, they would get it in the ring on annual Boxing Day and have a little friendly fight,” he explained.

Both men and women fighters participate in the event each year. Some fighters are boxers in training while others are amateur fighters.

The last few years the event has been sponsored by Gaston Browne, the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area and the Uprising Boxing Gym.

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