Boxing Snippets

US foe relishing Koopman challenge

It’s a long way from Long island to Johannesburg, but Wendy Toussaint’s excitement on the phone is palpable even from 13 000km away.
Both the prospect of fighting overseas and boxing an unbeaten foe like Shervantaigh Koopman, as he’ll do on the Golden Gloves Show at Emperors Palace on June 15, have him revved up.
“I have a lot of motivation. I can win, I can win,” he said breathlessly ahead of his departure for South Africa on Friday. “I’ve had great motivation. I’m always ready. I’m in shape, so [being physical] is easy.”
Toussaint admits he knows little about Koopman, but his have-gloves-will-travel mindset make him a happy traveller eager to take on allcomers. “I know he’s a good fighter, and I like that . . . it’s very exciting.”
His early hero was TV character MacGyver, the resourceful problem solver who always made a plan. “He could always figure things out,” said “Haitian Fire”, who will be looking to evoke similar ingenuity at Emperors where the home crowd and Koopman’s silky skills will present significant challenges.
His favourite boxer was Floyd Mayweather jnr – “so smart” – but his own style is a blend of aggression and power. “When you watch me, I’m very aggressive, strong and calm. I get stronger as the fight progresses.”
Although he was born in Haiti 32 years ago, Toussaint grew up in French Guiana before emigrating to the US. Among his early sparring partners was the bigger, stronger Joe Smith, a rugged light-heavyweight who would go on to beat Bernard Hopkins and also win a version of the world title.
Toussaint remembers getting pounded by Smith’s big punches, but the experience taught him resilience and the importance of good defense.
“I also learned to have a strong mindset and to stay focused.”
A part-time bus driver who eschews the night life – “I don’t go out and party’ – he says he far prefers to spend time at home with his parents, brother, and sister. Despite his enthusiasm during the interview, he insists he prefers the quiet life, and being alone. He keeps very much to himself.
He isn’t shy to say he enjoys boxing, but his real motivation is earning money, to help provide for his family.
Coming to South Africa thus represents another vital step on that journey. He isn’t fazed by the potential roadblocks either.
“I’m not at all nervous. When you want to be great, God gives you a challenge. Nothing is easy. And if you look at my background, I’ve endured tough challenges. Being an outsider doesn’t worry me. People know me. Everywhere I go, I leave a fingerprint. June 15 will be no different.”
A good talker, Toussaint can box too.
Koopman has been warned.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button