Woolridge conquers experienced foe

  • Photograph by Akil Simmons

Winning ways: Woolridge, left, training with Wilson, claimed a points victory in his main event bout in Barbados

Sentwali Woolridge claimed the prized scalp of Canadian Zack George — a former world No 3 — at the Bridgetown Burning International Combat Games in Barbados last weekend.

Woolridge secured a points victory in the main event over the experienced George, who won bronze at the World Wushu Championships in Malaysia in 2013 and counts Woolridge’s coach, Garon Wilkinson, among his many victims.

Woolridge, 33, improved his record to 22 wins and 15 loses after winning the second and third rounds of their entertaining contest at the Lloyd Erksine Sandiford Centre.

It was Woolridge’s first fight since winning a silver medal at the Pan American Wushu Championships in Lubbock, Texas, in January 2016 and should boost his preparations for the world championships in Kazan, Russia, from September 27 to October 3.

Four other BSA fighters — Keanu Wilson, Reyel Bowen, Krista Dyer and Chaquita Simons — were also in action in Barbados. Wilson, 21, won three bouts en route to winning gold in the 75kg division, while Bowen, making his return from a long-term injury, recorded a first-round knockout win over Justin Taylor, of Barbados, to claim the 85kg division.

Dyer, in the 65kg category, lost a close match to Sarah Buczek, of Canada, to pick up silver and debutant Chaquita Simmons defeated Canadians Dunio Blanco and Tina Wu in a round-robin to win the 65kg division.

“I’m very pleased with the performance of the team,” said Wilkinson, who lost to George at the Pan American Wushu Championships in Toronto in 2006. “The level of sanda [Chinese boxing] was very high and just what we need during a world championships year.

“The main event featuring Sentwali Woolridge and Zack George definitely lived up to the hype and was a superb display of high-level sanda.”

Wilkinson added that all of the BSA fighters could take positives from their performances.He would, however, have liked fit-again Bowen to get more rounds under his belt ahead of his bout on May 6 on the undercard of Nikki Bascome’s professional boxing match against Mexican David Rangel at North Field, National Sports Centre.

“I was extremely pleased that Keanu had three fights and three wins to take his record to 5-1,” he said.

“To be able to fight three times within a few hours really shows his level of conditioning.

“Chaquita displayed excellent technique in her competition debut and we were very happy that she was able win her first two fights. I was disappointed that Reyel’s fight didn’t last that long given that he has been out of the ring for a while. We are looking forward to him competing again on May 6.

“Krista fought an excellent match against Sara Buczek and despite the loss was definitely one of her best fights to date. It was great preparation for the world championships later this year.”