Competition got underway for The Bahamas on Monday at the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) Men’s World Boxing Championships 2021. The first Bahamian boxer to step into the ring was Rashield Williams in the welterweight division. He fell to Georgian boxer Lasha Guruli at the Štark Arena in Belgrade, Serbia.
Williams fought out of the blue corner and lost 5-0 in a unanimous decision after the three rounds of action. The judges scored the bout 30-27, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26. The 32 year-old spoke about the fight.
“In the first round I was targeting his body a lot because he is a much taller guy. He had a longer reach. I was starting to break him down but he did a lot of running. I would get a punch on him then he would start running again,” Williams said.
In the second round, Williams said that Guruli came out attacking, and in the third round, the Bahamian felt he won that round.
“In the third round, I felt it was my fight but the judges looked at it differently. He is an Olympian so I feel they would not give it to a small country that easily. I have been in this game long and this is not my first, second or third time experiencing something like this. I just took it in stride,” Williams said.
He said he felt he put his best foot forward and stuck to his game plan. Williams said he is now looking forward to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, but before that, he is looking to get in some more professional fights and record some knockouts.
The welterweight boxer said he is done with this competition. Next up for The Bahamas in this competition is veteran boxer Carl Hield, who is making his third career appearance at the world championships. He will be fighting tonight in the junior
middleweight division and will be locked in to start off on a winning note.
“I am focused from now for Paris 2024 (Olympics),” Hield said. “I did not get a chance to go to Tokyo 2020 but I will be in Paris. I have to start from now and be focused for the task at hand. I have to go out and do what I have to do because small countries in this competition cannot win with the judges, so I have to go and dominate. I am going to dominate and convince the judges that I belong here.”
Hield will be going up against American Obed Bartee-El II in the first session at 1 p.m. local time in the fifth bout. He said he looked up his opponent and is not concerned about him, but he wants to go in the ring and execute. He said he is not worried about Bartee-El’s game plan.
Hield’s fight today is in the round of 64.
Nathaniel Knowles is the head coach. His advice to Hield is to protect himself.
Also in Serbia is Bahamas Amateur Boxing Federation President Vincent Strachan. He felt that Williams was the winner of his fight and is looking forward to Hield’s fight.
“We felt that Williams did enough to win the match but the judges saw it differently. He lost on points. It is obvious that the boxers from smaller countries stand little to no chance to win by decision against the bigger countries. We are not down-heartened but disappointed that he lost, but we are looking forward to Hield’s match. I continue to ask for prayers for our safety, victory and the ball is now in Carl’s court. These games are certainly a learning curve for us,” Strachan said.
Hield is aiming to win a medal and substantial money. The gold medalists will receive $100,000 each. The silver medalists will receive $50,000 each and the bronze medalists are set to receive $25,000 each.
Over 500 boxers from 88 countries are competing in 13 weight divisions. This is the second time that the event is being held in Belgrade. Competition wraps up on November 6.