Aug 09, 2012 Sports
By Michael Benjamin
Boxing will always occupy a revered place in local sports history as will the many pugilists that have sweated and bled in their quest for fistic accolades.
Admittedly, most of the prolific punchers practiced their trade in the Capital City hence the misconceived notion that pugilists from the rural communities are incapable of etching their names in the rich annuls of boxing history.
However, if the truth be told, one would be astonished at the large numbers of boxers that have defied the odds, existent in the rural communities and rose to the challenge.
Berbice, for example, has produced the likes of Al Thomas, Ramesh Best, Robin ‘Albion Prince’ Lall and a plethora of other renowned fighters.
Over the past decade or so the Berbicians simply disappeared from the fistic scene until Orlon Rogers migrated from Linden to the Ancient County. In a relatively short time, the man who his supporters fondly dubbed ‘Pocket Rocket’ formed a gym and so christened it after himself. Ironically, Rogers is not one of the high profiled pugilists, yet he seemed to have a magical touch as a coach. The evidence of his prowess can be seen in the products of his institution. Jamal Eastman, Joel Williamson, Shaquille Simon, Julian Blair, Keon Williams and Bontam Seeraj are all boxers groomed by Rogers who, as the popular joke making its rounds around the boxing circles goes, ‘could not differentiate a left hook from a fish hook.’ Today, thanks to the expert tutelage provided by Rogers, these boxers have positioned themselves as competent forces among their peers.
Maybe, Rogers’ success story is most evident in the exploits of Richard Williamson, a native of the depressed Angoy Avenue in New Amsterdam. Also referred to as Cow Dam, many have promoted the view that nothing good comes out of this community. Williamson entered the boxing fray not in the least oblivious of the ‘stain’ of being born in that area. Within the first three months of his involvement, no one would believe that he had never donned gloves before. His slick movements, staunch determination and application certainly belied this fact. True to prediction, Williamson was the shining star of the gym. He travelled to Barbados and procured a silver medal in the Ronald Wilson Goodwill Games and then repeated that feat in another tournament in Trinidad and Tobago. With 44 wins from 64 fights, the Berbician was all set to make his Olympic debut and was a part of the team scheduled to travel to Brazil for the trials when he was inexplicably omitted from the squad. The youngster appealed to all who would listen for that opportunity to serve his country, all to no avail. The selectors of the Guyana Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) cited inadequate funds and stuck to their 4 man selection team.
Frustrated, hardly begins to explain Williamson’s psyche and he opted to strip off his shirt rather than wait around and hope for another four years. The young man immediately stamped his authority in the professional ranks with a hard fought victory over Delon Allicock in the July edition of Friday Night Fights. He made things look easy against a determined Allicock who was long touted to possess more skill and pluck. Williamson proved the pundits wrong.
They say out of sight is out of mind, but Richardson is staunch in his belief that a man can accomplish great things irrespective of where he was born and his current station in life. At 19 years of age, and with just one fight to his name, he is already dreaming big and vows that Guyanese will hear much more from him as he continues to lace up his gloves in preparation for imminent fistic encounters.
His determination was evident when Kaieteur Sport paid an unannounced visit to the Pocket Rocket Boxing Gym (PRBG) and discovered that Williamson was the only boxer in camp. He was taken through his paces by Rogers and he appeared focused and determined as he followed his coach’s shouted instructions. We learned that Williamson is training for his second bout, against Esan Rose, on September 2 next.
Rogers is adamant that once he remains focused, Williamson will achieve much in the sport. Already, Williamson has adapted one of the oldest psychological ploys of the trade—verbal warfare as a prelude to fistic warfare. “I have already set my sights on international accolades and Rose will get a taste of this,” he said while showing clenched fists. Mindful of the many boxers that have lost their way through complacency and an unwillingness to apply themselves to their task, Williamson said that he plans to stay in the gym.
Already, he has his sights on bigger accomplishments and listed several names he wishes to add to his list. Those names started small — Prince Slowe, Selwyn Lett, Hewley Robinson and eventually climaxed at Elton ‘Coolie Bully’ Dharry.
With such lofty ambitions Williamson knows that he will have to really apply himself to his training. That is why he remains in the gym, working assiduously towards his goals. Many boxers could attest to the power of the sport to transform one’s life. It did for Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Rahim Rahman and a plethora of other pugilists. Williamson is assured that the sport could also be a redeeming factor in his life and continues to work hard while awaiting his destiny.
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