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Donovan 'Police' Campbell crowned The Contender 2012
The Wray and Nephew Contender second season finale brought the unprecedented scenario of a throng of Jamaicans calling for a police beating. The ‘Police’ in question however was not a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the usual recipient of placards crying for justice, instead it was the ultimate victor of the reality television series, 43 year-old Donovan ‘Police’ Campbell, who battled against Ramel ‘Subzero’ Lewis.
Campbell punched his way to million dollar prize also taking with it the Wray and Nephew Welterweight Belt. “See di belt ova deh so, a long time mi want a belt fi put inna mi pants,” Campbell joked at the end of the fight. Lewis received the runner-up purse of $500,000.00. The show also paid tribute to six of Jamaica’s boxing stalwarts Carlton Bent, Job Walters, Lindel ‘Sugar’ Wallace, Richard ‘Shrimpy’ Clarke, Bunny Grant and Carl Grant.
The Wray and Nephew Contender appears on TVJ on Wednesdays. The weekly fights were held at the auditorium of the Chinese Benevolent Association on Hope Road but the finale was shifted to the National Indoor Arena, Independence Park. The series marries the thrill of the live boxing match with the added drama of the television show, allowing the audience to build a relationship with the contenders as they move toward the finale. The boxing arena makes a fine theatre, and similar to the deadly bouts of gladiators of old, so were these two men pitted against each other with members of the audience calling for blood.
Season two began in February of 2012 with 16 welterweight contenders who were finally whittled down to four contending for the top spots. Earlier in the night Richard Holmes and Kevin Hylton had battled for the third and fourth spots. The night’s major bout between Lewis and Campbell had been a match of age and experience versus the passion and determination of youth.
Toward the end of the eighth round of the ten round bout, the crowd had shifted staunchly to Campbell’s favour. The shouts echoed around the room as the crowd cheered on their chosen contender. “Lick him Police,” the yelled. Another man bellowed, “Hunts Bay no full up!” indicating that when Campbell was done with his beating they would cart Lewis off to prison. “We cyan tek him a Horizon. Him too saaf,” another man countered.
Before the official winner was declared, the crowd had already claimed their victor and poured into the ring. The official announcement merely echoed what they had already known.
“Hush yaa Sub-zero. A so it go,” said one woman in the audience tried to console the defeated warrior.
The end of the fight, however was not the end of the night and Bounti Killer and Aidonia would bring more heat and dancehall fueled drama into the ring.
“Bring back boxing inna Jamaica!” Aidonia called. “We love the fun and we love the excitement.” The night’s match had certainly proved as much, highlighting the show’s role in fueling interest in the sport once more.