Welterweight boxer Hield now looking forward to CAC and Commonwealth Games
It’s back to the drawing board for Bahamians Carl Hield and Rashield Williams, having lost in the opening round of the American Boxing Confederation (AMBC) Elite American Confederation Boxing Championships, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Both were looking to make the semi-finals, thereby qualify for the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) World Championships, set for August 25 to September 3, in Hamburg, Germany. Hield, now 30, is considering this time as his final four-year period as an amateur fighter, heading into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
He wants to qualify for as many major championships as he can, and build steam heading into the Olympics. In Tegucigalpa, Hield dropped his opening match in the 69 kilogram (kg.) class, 5-0, to Jhonathan Concei de Oliveira Soares, of Brazil. Williams lost his opening match in the 64 kg. class, 4-1, to Christiann Palacio, of Venezuela.
Hield said that both of their losses could be attributed to inactivity. Both Bahamian boxers train in Havana, Cuba.
“The bottom line is that we need more fights so that we could get more exposure,” said Hield. “Prior to the tournament, we hadn’t box in about a year, and of course something like that will have an effect. We’re both right where we need to be – we just need more fights under our belts.”
Hield said they are currently looking for sponsors to get to a tournament in Miami, Florida, in September. He said that their immediate focus is to go into next year in top shape for the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and the Commonwealth Games. Hield is the reigning silver medalist in the welterweight division at the CAC Games, and he is a former bronze medalist in that same division at the Commonwealth Games.
The AMBC elite boxing event in Tegucigalpa last month served as a qualifier for the world championships – an event Hield has represented The Bahamas at on many occasions. In fact, he is one of just three Bahamians to ever win a match at the world championships. Now, he is back home, training with, and guiding the young boxers who will represent The Bahamas at the Commonwealth Youth Games in The Bahamas next week.
“I want to support the young boxers in any way that I can,” said Hield. “I’m not going to be boxing forever, so veterans like me have to be able to support the young boxers and pass our knowledge on to them. I’m here for three weeks, then it’s back to training. The main plan for next year is to make the gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games. No Bahamian boxer has ever made the final at the Commonwealth Games – that’s my goal for now.”
Hield said that he hopes to be in Freeport, Grand Bahama, next month, when the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB) hosts boxers from Guatemala for a tournament. After that, he said that he’ll continue his preparation for next year.
One of the reasons he never turned professional was because he wanted to make his mark as an amateur first – he feels that he still has a lot more to offer as an amateur boxer.
“I gave it some thought (turning professional), but I really want to win a medal at the world championships or the Olympics – that’s my driving force for now,” said Hield. “When you become professional, a lot of promoters and managers try to use you because that is a business to them. They just want you to sign so that they could make money off you. My main thing right now is just to represent my country and see if I could qualify for the 2020 Olympics. After that, I’ll consider coaching and giving back to the youth. I want to be able to fight for them to give them more than what I had.
“I’m very confident in my ability to get to the next Olympics. I just need to get my ranking up some more and keep progressing. I just want to thank the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, my family and friends, and all of my fans who have assisted in me getting to this point. I’ll continue to represent The Bahamas to the best of my ability.”
The last Bahamian boxer to reach the Olympics was Tureano Johnson in Beijing, China, in 2008. He lost in the quarter-finals to Chinese boxer Hanati Silamu, and finished those Olympics as the No. 5 ranked amateur welterweight in the world.
Hield said that he feels they could get about three or four boxers from The Bahamas to qualify for the next Olympics. Hield has been competing for The Bahamas as an amateur boxer for the past 15 years, and looks to continue his career at least until the next Olympics.