Well I’m about a month and a half later than I would have liked to be on this post haha! By my views on the site you guys haven’t left me *tear* that means a lot😀. But seriously it’s UPDATE TIME! When I last left you, I was fresh off of my second fight. My second fight in the USA Boxing circuit ended with a TKO VICTORY!!! This was back in February. I finished my opponent in the second round after he could not continue. That was a confidence booster and so much more. I felt sick as a dog before the fight. I got so nervous before I had to take a nap to calm my nerves. It’s the weirdest feeling in the world and only recently did I figure out how to deal with it, more on that later. My next fight took us to Alma, AR at the Agape Youth Ranch. That day…just never felt good. The day never felt wrong or bad or like anything bad was going to happen but it just felt..off? I still can’t explain what was going on that day with me here two months later. I was fighting a guy I knew I could beat and whose coach had been waiting for me to get more fights to challenge his heavyweight. I was psyched so much so that I was not nervous. That’s bad. My first coach always told me if you are not nervous, something is wrong. You should have butterflies in your stomach. I did not on this day and I continued to fight the urge to say something. It seemed to take FOREVER for my fight to come. Two of my teammates had already lost and another won in dramatic fashion. My coach had been penalized because a referee got his feelings hurt. He had been banished from ringside to the crowd…three feet away. If you didn’t catch my sarcasm there catch it now lol. When my turn finally came I had no thoughts, another peculiar fact. I usually have four million thoughts racing through my mind before I clash leather. The fight was…meh. This “Taco” kid was afraid of contact. I thought that would make this easy but it in fact did not. His punches were so telegraphed I saw them a mile away. I think, because his punches were so easily dodged, I dodged early and got out of position. He of course could not hit me, but I in turn could not hit him either. It was boring. He held me way too much, it bordered cheating. Anyway I lost the decision still as pretty as I was when I got in the ring. He was bleeding and swollen from the few times I did hit him. He even came and apologized for hugging me during the fight. I kept my cool, as my coach had just gotten through telling me about how to lose with character, and told him it’s fine and honor to you for winning. In my head though…I was like “GET THE F*** OUTTA MY FACE YOU SORRY BASTARD!” I was a tad bit emotional haha. Anyway that was a teaching moment for so many reasons.
Next up was practice for two weeks until the biggest moment of my career so far, Golden Gloves. The state championship was merely two weeks away after training for a year the time was upon our gym to shine like we know how. Before that we would have a grueling practice schedule, Gym Wars and then another week of two-a-days. In case you don’t know two-a-days consist of twice the workout you would normally have. Twice the running, twice the sparring, twice the pain and suffering of boxing practice. The payoff? State Gold around your neck.
Gym Wars is an event we put on at StraightRight Boxing and Fitness. It is essentially an open workout we invite the public to so we can raise money for trips to National Events. We are doing it again this weekend look down further in the post for details
After Gym Wars and one more week of cutting weight and a strict diet Golden Gloves came. This was the first time since my adolescence that I had been even remotely thinking of being at this event. Here I am after seven years of training off an on and not having a coach, here I am on an elite team, with elite coaches, fighting for the chance to go to regionals and subsequently Las Vegas for nationals. I was pumped and as nervous as a lion on its first hunt!
Weigh-ins came and went, then there was food, then the dreaded waiting game. I knew that I had been training to beat one name, Jermaine Reed. The defending champion and favorite to win the super heavyweight championship again this year. No one expects me to win this, nobody even knows my name. As a young and new fighter with only three fights under my belt, I was most assuredly looked over and not given a second thought. My team and my friends know but my opponents have no idea of the rage I am about to unleash on any and everyone across me in the ring. Before I get to the meat and taters let’s slow it down real quick.
A few days before my coach sat me down for a heart to heart to figure out where my head was. He wanted, in my mind, to see where my mental strength was or came from. I had proven physically that I’m ready and far beyond where I should be for a person with three fights. But, mentally I may not have shown him the nail in the coffin. He asked me what my goals where in the sport. Is it Golden Gloves? Is it competition? “What are you fighting for Bernard?” he asked. I responded in the most honest way I could, “Well coach, ever since Kalvin brought it up, I want to go to the Olympics in 2016.” With that I felt relieved. I myself had not REALLY thought of why I wanted to box, compete, or destroy my body and heal it leading to a better Bernard. That was it. I want to represent my country at the 2016 Olympics and show the world that heavyweight boxing is NOT the fight you overlook on the fight card. I alone, can prove this is still the premiere fighting class in any sport. There were so many people in my weight class along with 165lb and 178lb weight classes that we had been told that this would be a two day event and finals would be the following week for those classes. This was to be a single elimination tournament style with fights on day one, day two, another week of training and then finals.
The team was relaxing after weigh-ins at a friends house and coach calls with the match-ups. Who did I get the first round? The defending champion! I was pumped up! Let’s go ahead and knock off the champ in the first round and then coast through the rest of the tournament!
To be continued…