It’s the end of summer showcase at the Edward C. Gartland Youth Centre and Jimkelly Joseph glances over his mentees one last time before leading them out to a roar from the crowd of parents, sponsors, students, and friends.
As he guides them through an impressive showcase of boxing technique, fitness and obedience, it quickly becomes clear that Joseph’s program was focused on much more than just boxing.
“What do we live by?” he asks his fierce young trainees who respond passionately, “HUMILITY! RESPECT! DISCIPLINE!”, confirming what was already clear to the crowd – the life lessons taught to these kids over the summer were even more powerful than a deadly right hook.
Born in 1993 in the nation’s capital of Grand Turk, Joseph graduated from Providenciales’ Clement Howell High School in 2010 before discovering boxing in 2011.
“I was stressed from losing my grandfather, someone very dear to me. I was depressed and angry and the sport really helped me to channel that in a positive way”, explains the 23-year-old resort concierge.
As Joseph began to personally excel in the development of his boxing skills, he got the idea to share what he likes to call the ‘therapy sport’ with the youth of the islands.
Joseph soon started the Turks and Caicos Islands Boxing Federation (“TCIBF”) with a team of other believers including Cynthia Joseph, Robert Stubbs, Renee Wright, Drexel Smith, Ange Toussaint and Lerone ‘Lee’ Ingham. Channeling lessons from his boxing heroes Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and Lennox Lewis, Joseph not only teaches TCIBF inductees to box, but shares with them the personal journeys of those legendary champions in harnessing the internal courage and character they’ll need to succeed.
Ali fought for justice and love with bravado and style. Tyson was once a bad kid from a rough neighborhood who allowed his mentor Cus D’Amato to channel his pain into greatness, whilst Lewis exuded patience and humility both in and out of the ring.
At the TCIBF’s first exhibition on February 27th, Joseph’s vision and the hard work of his committee finally stepped into the ring.
With five bouts, three male fights and two female fights, the Turks & Caicos public marveled at the fruition of Jimkelly’s vision.
Professionally well presented with personnel from the PanAmerican Caribbean Boxing Organization in attendance, each thrilling bout offered ferociousness in its fights and deep respect from the competitors in their resolution. As the young boxers embraced each other immediately after being pummeled, the display of sportsmanship underscored everything Jimkelly Joseph has been fighting for – Humility. Respect. Discipline.
STORY & PHOTOGRAPHS: DOMINIQUE ROLLE/CAYA HICO MEDIA