Boxing icon Gomeo Brennan still rolling at the age of 80
On Thursday past, January 17, Gorman “Gomeo” Brennan reached the age of 80.
We chatted a bit, when I congratulated him. When he said “it feels no different being 80”, Brennan was referring to a healthy disposition, and a strong voice and mind. In truth, in those categories, the man from Bimini is as I have always found him to be. He did acknowledge though that reaching the milestone calendar number was cause for reflection, and reminiscing.
“Hey man, I’ve been thinking about all of my friends. A good many of them have gone on, like my long-time good buddy Ronnie Butler (the songster). Quite a bit of them who are still around, as I am, have been writing me and calling me. It’s been special interacting with them.
“As for milestones, of course for me, what comes to mind first was winning the Commonwealth and Empire (middleweight) title. Man, that was very big, getting that international title, going all the way to London and winning. At that time, travelling so far in itself, was different. Not many boxers on this side (of the Atlantic Ocean), got that opportunity. I was able to get the chance and make good of it. That was a huge thrill,” said Brennan.
At the time, October 10, 1963, more than half of a century ago, Brennan won on points easily against Briton Mickey Leahy to capture the vacant Commonwealth (British Empire) Middleweight Title. The magnitude of his accomplishment could not have possibly been fully appreciated at that time.
History however has stamped Brennan significantly for the incredible role he played in crafting The Bahamas’ global sports brand. Brennan would go on to reign as the Commonwealth (British Empire) Middleweight Champion on two occasions; to be a top 10 contender as a world middleweight and light heavyweight fighter for over a decade; and to fight for the World Boxing Association’s (WBA) Light Heavyweight Title, a fight he loss to Vicente Rondon.
Just two Bahamians have won an international boxing crown, on the “world” level – Elisha Obed (World Boxing Council Junior Middleweight Title) and Freeman Barr (International Boxing Organization Middleweight Title).
Only three other Bahamians won Commonwealth crowns in the 56 years since Brennan defeated Leahy. Reference is to Ray Minus Jr., Jermaine “Choo Choo” Mackey and Steve Larrimore. Otherwise, Edner Cherry, Sherman “Tank” Williams, and Meacher Major have won regional titles.
Yama Bahama, the first prime time Bahamian boxer, a television star, never won a title. All these years later, being able to note the really, limited international boxing success by Bahamians, heightens what Brennan was able to achieve almost 60 years ago.
Brennan went into battle in the ring for 16 years, before he retired with an 84-21-7 win-loss-draw record. He had 40 knockouts and failed to go the distance just once, having to retire against Rondon because of a swollen eye.
Brennan’s amount of victories (84) stands second in Bahamian boxing history, only to Obed (91-2-4). Bahama’s career record was 77-14-3. Brennan has been inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame, The Bahamas’ Boxing Hall of Fame and The Bahamas’ National Sports Hall of fame.
He is a sporting icon of the highest order.
Happy 80th Gomeo! Continued best wishes!
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address email@example.com or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.