Former national boxing champion Christopher ‘Shaka’ Henry is advocating for Barbadian boxers to be allowed to compete more often, noting that training is one thing but to apply that and put it into action is more important.
From his boxing days until now, Henry who represented Barbados at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, and is a 2003 International Boxing Union champion, said not much has improved in terms of resources. In fact, in his opinion, the biggest improvement he has seen, if any, is that Barbados now has Henry as one of the best trainers.
There are international fighters who come from England and Canada to train with Henry for a month. Based on this particular reality, Henry noted that other countries are seeing his worth except in Barbados. As he blatantly puts it, something is wrong.
“Big countries as we like to call them are paying me to come to train their people. You get more assistance outside than home. But the thing is I am tired of being outside because I like it here and I am going to do what I have to here,” Henry said.
A full-time fitness trainer by profession, the 47-year-old Henry also incorporates boxing in his programs and works with all age groups. He explained that he has seen a growing interest in local boxing and is now hoping that boxers would be able to compete very soon again amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We are waiting to see how we will be able to compete because it has been done in other countries. All now there is competition in the US, Canada, it is going on. We do not want to be the ones that are not competing. When it is time for those big events again we want to be much further than we were before. So, I am here just trying to play my part and work with the youngsters,” he explained.
It is expected that a few Barbadian boxers will travel sometime soon to train in Canada but Henry is advising against any form of travelling right now because of the Coronavirus pandemic. He strongly believes that Barbados has some of the best trainers that could get the job done.
Henry whose career spanned from 1994 to 2015 is encouraging the Barbados Boxing Association to set up proper programs. “We always had a good boxing crew here but I found that we got six guys in one division and they don’t want to fight against one another because they are in the same gym.
“In my time it wasn’t like that, I fought against my brother back then. If you are in the same weight division you compete. I don’t think you should take-off weight to go into another division. With it being like that we wouldn’t get the best athletes. I don’t think you should be throwing off weight to make space for this guy to go to the event. If you want to go to the event, beat me and that is how we develop good fighters,” he said.
Barbados was recently placed on the international map by Cobia ‘Soldier’ Breedy who became the first Barbadian to fight on Showtime television.
Henry who also fought on television back in his days said he was extremely happy and proud to see it happen again where a fellow Barbadian was doing well on the boxing scene.
The proud owner of Shaka’s School of Boxing and Fitness located at the Screw Docks, also has a boot camp located at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex. He advised the young upcoming boxers to see boxing as a business. The owner of Fit4Less 246 athletes gear, Henry noted that eventually boxing will pay off for those who take it seriously.
“Cobia’s performance showed the boxers here you don’t just have to fight an amateur and then go look for a job. You could make that your livelihood, boxing could get you everything you want. You have to see boxing as a business, I am going to get my house from this, I am going to get my land from this.
“It is like school where you got to be studying – the training. When the other guys are sleeping you got to be on the road working so when it comes to competition time you want to be the best because this is your livelihood. This is where you get everything from and all kids have to start looking at it from that perspective. And I think with that in mind we would get better athletes. Don’t see it as just for fun or to make a trip,” Henry said.