Sep 18, 2020 Sports
Guyanese Vivian Harris owns Restaurant in Florida
By Sean Devers
One of six boxers to win world titles for Guyana including the two females, Shondell Alfred and Gwendoline O’Neil, 42 year-old Vivian ‘Vicious’ Harris now resides in the sunshine state of Florida, USA where he owns a restaurant. Harris migrated to the USA in 1993.
Harris, one of two brothers (the other, Wayne Harris) to challenge for World titles, grew-up in National Avenue, South Ruimveldt, Georgetown and is the son of Boxing Promoter, Herman Harris.
Inspired by the late Andrew ‘Six Heads’ Lewis, who won Guyana’s first World title in 2001 and Wayne ‘Big Truck’ Braithwaite who won World titles before him, Harris would beat Cuban Diobel Hurtado by TKO on October 19, 2002 to capture the WBA Junior Welterweight title in Houston Texas
He went on the defend that title three times in the next two years with the last fight resulting in a loss to Columbian, Carlos Maussa. Gary Sinclair who defeated Cassius Baloyai in South Africa in July 2006 is the last Guyanese male to win a World title.
Harris made his Pro debut November 4, 1997 when he knocked out Levi Long in the first minute of first round and retired on July 21 2018 after defeating De Marcus Corley at the fexExForum, Memphis Tennessee, USA and his Pro record reads: 48 fights 33 wins, 12 losses 2 draws 1 no contest 19 KOs.
As an Amateur, Harris won the Metro Championships in 1995 before winning New York Golden Gloves in 1997 and had 45 wins and five loses with 32 of his victories coming by way of Knock-outs.
Born June 17, 1978, Harris, one of 10 siblings, including four sisters, attended South School before passing his common Entrance Exams to go to St Mary’s High school before moving to Lodge Community High. Harris explained how he became a boxer.
“When I was in South School my brothers were boxing so I used to take their boxing gloves to school but then I started playing soccer (football) at Lodge Community High. So soccer was my first sport before a Coach invited me to Gym and that’s how I became a boxer, Harris remembered.
“I remember when I was training in the Gym and looking good and one of the Coaches asked ‘who was this kid’ and I told him my name. He said Oh you are from the Harris family. At that time my dad was a boxing promoter and my brother (Wayne) was a National champion.
He first joined the Gym at the National Sports Hall (now renamed the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall) and Cliff Anderson was his first Coach. He moved to Kanchie’s Gym in Albouystown (Six Heads Gym) before going to the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Gym where he did most of his training.
“I watch a lot of sports and I respect everybody’s ability to do what they like but I don’t have a favorite sportsman. My favorite boxer is my brother Wayne and myself. I also admired Tito Trinidad, Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. I tried to take little things from them and put into my fighting when I was a professional boxer, said Harris who informed that he loves spending time with his beautiful wife who he has been with for 22 years (married for 12years) and his three kids aged 22, 17 and 10.
While he has a house and business in Florida where he lives with his wife and kids, Harris said his eldest son from a previous relationship, resides in New York with his mother. Harris stated that because he loved boxing and was happy doing it, he never had any challenges in the fistic sport and is thinking of opening a Gym.
“I believe that for a boxer to move to the international level and win a world title they have to leave Guyana and come to the US where they can train in a professional system. There is a lot of corruption in the sport in Guyana because the people (officials) there only think of themselves and about money.
There is nothing wrong thinking about money for yourself but you must have a plan to make things happen, put things together and make the right choices so you can get success out of it, but they are not thinking about that.
Most of the Administrators, Managers and Promoters are not Professional in Guyana and I have no respect for them…I am sorry to say that,” lamented Harris. He further stated that one of main the difference with boxers now and in his days is that they had more opportunities to train in the US in a professional environment when was a youngster.
“If the young ones don’t get out of Guyana, I am sorry to say, nothing is going to happen for them because there is little respect for each other in Guyana. It’s important to get to the Olympics, it gives you recognition, it gives you sponsorship and it gives you the right promoter. You get a lot of backings to take you to a different level when you come back from the Olympics and that’s good.
Going to the Olympics gives you more leverage to get a contract faster. But once you can fight, you fight and it does not make a big difference if you go to the Olympics or not” continued Harris, who said he has stopped following boxing in Guyana.
Harris said winning a World title was a dream come true and informed that it was for his dad.
“My brother fought Reggie Johnson for the World title and he did not become champion of the world and I wanted to it for my dad since that was his dream promoting fights. That was a great accomplishment for me and my entire family. My dad was a boxing promoter and could say he had world Champion son.
I was proud to bring a world title for my Country since, before 2001; Guyana never had a world title so when we started becoming Champions of the world I wanted to be a part of it. When Six Heads and Big Truck won world tittles I knew that I had to win one too. It was for my country, family and my dad and it was good for my career too,” disclosed Harris.
The talented pugilist has not returned to his homeland since October 2002 when he won the World title.
“When I became World Champion I came back home for the celebrations but have not gone back since then because they (boxing officials) robbed me of my money that the Government give me. A lot of things they did to me, like I said they don’t care about nobody.
They did not give me all the money that the Government give to me. The Government give me $5 million dollars and they only give me US$5,000 and after that I figured that Guyana was not somewhere I wanted to be. Yeah I will go back but I am not thinking of that right now. My focus is in America right now with my wife and my kids” said Harris.
The former World Champion feels that if they did this to him they will do it to a lot of other fighters. “Look what they did to (Clive) Atwell when he went to Mexico. Everybody that is in this boxing business in Guyana needs to stop robbing the Guyanese fighters. That’s why people don’t want to be a part of their nonsense and it’s hard to come back and do business in Guyana because they are only looking for today and care not about tomorrow” Harris informed.
Harris thanked God, his wife, the promoters who got him the World Championship fight, his dad his brothers and sisters and his trainers. His advice to young boxers is pick the right trainers, watch lots of fights, always stay in the Gym, stay in condition, eat the right things, stay away from alcohol and drugs and stay focused.
“I want to thank my fans in Guyana, my fans around the World who supported me. I want to tell the kids of my country that anyone can make it in this world it’s just putting God first. If I can do it anyone who works hard enough in any sports can be successful at internationally and they are prepared to make the sacrifices to stay fit and improve their physical and mental skills” Harris concluded.
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