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V.I. Boxing Heroes Visit Prison Iron Man Competition

Hometown boxing heroes John and Julius Jackson were the special guests Thursday for the Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility’s Iron Man competition.

Organized by inmate Roberto “Rabbie” Smalls and other members of the prisoners advisory council, the goal of the competition was to give the inmates something to do in an effort to boost morale and reduce the violence within the institution.

"I put this event together to show that, despite what may be perceived, GGACF does have inmates that are on the road to rehabilitation,” Smalls said. “I was once an upcoming athlete representing the V.I. until I chose the wrong path. To the youth within and outside these gates, I want to send a message that it’s never too late to change and become a better individual.”

340 Boxing Company manager Jose “Tony” Rosario also went with the Jacksons to the prison and said the trio really enjoyed the experience.

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"We had a ball," Rosario said. "The outpouring of support from the Golden Grove community, the love, the feeling of camaraderie – it was all so wonderful.”

He added, “Out of all the experiences we have had as a group, here and abroad, this was by far, one of the best."

Julius Jackson, coming off a world title win in Argentina, said he was "overwhelmed" by the welcome the group received at Golden Grove.

"Everyone really appreciated that we came. They said they follow us, they watch us on the news and read about our fights, and they spoke to us about their experiences and the changes they want to make in their own lives," Jackson said. "I think our greatest accomplishment today was that we were able to give them a little hope, and show them that people still care about them."

John Jackson described the event as a "learning experience."

"It was amazing," he said. "I couldn’t believe the reaction to us just being there. We learned so much from them, and I think they learned so much from us."

Said Smalls of the two boxers, “These young men are examples of how successful one can be with hard work, dedication and sound decisions.”

The Iron Man competition was held for the fit and not so fit, and was comprised of participants doing a plethora of exercises, runs and jumps, and seeing who could do everything fastest.

The winners in the not so fit category were Tishawn Samuel, Stephan Hyacinth and Shevron Percival. The winners in the fit category were Denzel Stevens, Louimah Lavinier and Jemoy Gordon.

“It’s positive things like this that bring everyone together to have a good time, and we look forward to more activities like this in the future because it kind of takes you away from all the negative trail of thought,” Samuel said. “It is a big stress reliever to be a part of something.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because of a miscommunication and despite having been invited to the prison for the Iron Man, the media was not authorized to enter the prison for Thursday’s competition. All quotes and information for the story were provided courtesy of 340 Boxing and the V.I. Bureau of Corrections’ Basil Richards.

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Hometown boxing heroes John and Julius Jackson were the special guests Thursday for the Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility’s Iron Man competition.

Organized by inmate Roberto “Rabbie” Smalls and other members of the prisoners advisory council, the goal of the competition was to give the inmates something to do in an effort to boost morale and reduce the violence within the institution.

"I put this event together to show that, despite what may be perceived, GGACF does have inmates that are on the road to rehabilitation,” Smalls said. “I was once an upcoming athlete representing the V.I. until I chose the wrong path. To the youth within and outside these gates, I want to send a message that it's never too late to change and become a better individual.”

340 Boxing Company manager Jose “Tony” Rosario also went with the Jacksons to the prison and said the trio really enjoyed the experience.

"We had a ball," Rosario said. "The outpouring of support from the Golden Grove community, the love, the feeling of camaraderie – it was all so wonderful.”

He added, “Out of all the experiences we have had as a group, here and abroad, this was by far, one of the best."

Julius Jackson, coming off a world title win in Argentina, said he was "overwhelmed" by the welcome the group received at Golden Grove.

"Everyone really appreciated that we came. They said they follow us, they watch us on the news and read about our fights, and they spoke to us about their experiences and the changes they want to make in their own lives," Jackson said. "I think our greatest accomplishment today was that we were able to give them a little hope, and show them that people still care about them."

John Jackson described the event as a "learning experience."

"It was amazing," he said. "I couldn't believe the reaction to us just being there. We learned so much from them, and I think they learned so much from us."

Said Smalls of the two boxers, “These young men are examples of how successful one can be with hard work, dedication and sound decisions.”

The Iron Man competition was held for the fit and not so fit, and was comprised of participants doing a plethora of exercises, runs and jumps, and seeing who could do everything fastest.

The winners in the not so fit category were Tishawn Samuel, Stephan Hyacinth and Shevron Percival. The winners in the fit category were Denzel Stevens, Louimah Lavinier and Jemoy Gordon.

“It's positive things like this that bring everyone together to have a good time, and we look forward to more activities like this in the future because it kind of takes you away from all the negative trail of thought,” Samuel said. “It is a big stress reliever to be a part of something.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because of a miscommunication and despite having been invited to the prison for the Iron Man, the media was not authorized to enter the prison for Thursday’s competition. All quotes and information for the story were provided courtesy of 340 Boxing and the V.I. Bureau of Corrections’ Basil Richards.