Boxer Hield comes of age as lone Bahamian elite
Published: Oct 22, 2013
Carl Hield is 26, with no plans at all to turn professional. Hield, who is one of the finest in Bahamian history, continues to represent The Bahamas at the highest level of amateur boxing in the world.
Recently in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Hield solidified his elite status by winning in the opening round against a tough opponent from Scotland during the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) World Championships. To qualify for the World Championships is highly complimentary, but to win just one bout, takes a boxer to another elite level status.
Inside AIBA had this perspective of Hield following the bout against the Scot:
“Welterweight Carl Hield from The Bahamas looked lively against Scotland’s Lewis Benson. In the first round Benson made good use of the whole ring and danced around his opponent, clipping him with jabs, while Hield seemed a little off pace. By the second round however, there was a change in him (Hield), as though some of the early nerves were out of the system and he was free to box. From then on he caused his Scottish opponent some real problems and deservedly took the bout.”
Hield spoke to Inside AIBA about his match:
“I had a slow start to the fight but I picked up after the first round when I started to get warm. But, my dream is to have a fight with a Kazakhstan boxer, because I want the opportunity to prove my point. I really needed that win. I hoped they were going to give me an Olympic champion, but against a Kazakh boxer at lest I can prove my point because they always have good boxers.”
Hield has come of age. He will meet more and more of the best, those from Kazakhstan, Russia, Asia and the rest of the world.
It has been a gradual process for him, much more methodical than was the case with his former amateur partners Taureano Johnson and Valentino Knowles. Both Johnson and Knowles were stars almost immediately on the
local scene and they transferred early quality performances to the regional and international scenes automatically.
For Hield, the climb was not so automatic.
It seemed he just took studied steps towards where he is today. For the most part, he was considered too apprehensive. He often spent most of three rounds, primarily on defense. Yet, the potential for an offense similar to his crafty defense was just beneath the surface.
Then, in 2009, he competed in the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization (PACBO) Invitational in New Jersey. He came away with the middleweight championship and was declared the Boxer of the Tournament.
Of course, as the president of PACBO, I was there and witnessed his matches. I saw him deliver exactly what had long been expected of him. He was sharp on offense and superb as usual on defense. I expected his career to soar from that point. Indeed, he got into the Cuban scholarship program and the rest is history. Prominent showings on the Cuban circuit and in regional and international tournaments cemented him as one of the highest ranked boxer in the Americas as of 2010.
It was unfortunate that he didn’t qualify for the London Olympics of 2012. Obviously the switch from Cuban guidance in the corner was a big problem for both Hield and Knowles.
While Knowles decided to turn professional after failing to qualify for London 2012, Hield continued his amateur career. Earlier this year, he won a bronze medal during Cuba’s major national tournament. A first round defeat at the AIBA Continental Championships was a bit of a surprise but Hield was not discouraged.
He got back into the training flow in the Cuban environment. As a member of the AIBA special program, he benefited also from that organization’s elite camps. Although prone to up and down flows of his career, this could be Hield’s moment in time.
He’s come of age.
Continued best wishes Carl!
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.