Henfield chases title dreams
Allen Moody | Highlands TodaySebring's Jamal Henfield may have left the ring for a period of time, but he could never leave the dream. After sitting on the sidelines for a while, he's gotten back into the ring and is more determined than ever to climb to the top.
Published: February 4, 2013
Published: February 4, 2013
"I used to box about four years ago," he said. "I was second runner-up in the Golden Gloves in 2009, so I took a layoff and sat back for a little bit to get my head clear and see if I really wanted this. When I was at work I had an epiphany and realized this is something I wanted to do."
Henfield got in touch with Wauchula trainer Troy Carter and has been making the trip nearly five days a week to hone his skills.
Henfield was introduced to Carter by professional boxer Edner Cherry.
"I saw Edner Cherry on ESPN and they listed his hometown as Wauchula," Henfield said. "I ran into him and he introduced me to Troy."
The two have been working off and on for nearly three years, but at the beginning of this year Henfield decided to pour everything into the sport.
"I didn't want to regret it 10 years from now working at a desk job," he said. "I always wanted to be a boxer when I was younger."
Carter said there was definitely an improvement in Henfield.
"His maturity level has risen through the roof," Carter said. "He's changed. He has an idea of what it takes. We have a lot of opportunities for him; we just have to climb them one at a time."
The two are eying the state Golden Gloves competition, along with several national competitions in Spokane, Wash., March 30 through April 6, as well as the Junior National Golden Gloves, which will be held in Mesquite, Nev., at the end of July.
After that, it's a question of what Henfield will do.
"He's looking to turn pro, but I have other visions for him," Carter said. "I'm looking to win the Olympics first. I know he can do it. Just tighten up a few things and we'll be all right.
"He's very strong and he doesn't live a worldly life. Those are two of his biggest assets right there. He does what I tell him to do. With my head and his body we should be able to conquer it."
Henfield is an imposing figure in the ring, standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 230 pounds, although he and Carter would like to see him get down to 220 or 225 pounds.
Naturally, with his size, the Sebring High School basketball coaches were interested in him.
"They tried to get me to come out for basketball, but my heart was into boxing," he said.
Carter said he would like to put on a boxing show at the Highlands Today Center, probably in the spring, although it's still in the planning stages. He will have to get the matches sanctioned by USA Boxing and he also wants to work with United Way.
"We'd like to bring the marines from Camp Lejeune here and do a little patriotic thing," he said. "We're in the beginning stages. We have to get with United Way and I'd like to do a food drive, where every can of food gets people a dollar off and we'll donate a dollar. I'd like to keep the food and the money in the community."
Carter would like to get Henfield to Philadelphia for a while to work with current USBA heavyweight champion Bryant Jennings.
"I want to get him with some seasoned professionals," he said. "That's where he's trying to go and he'll know how to act when he gets there."
Carter said he would like to get a boxing gym started in Sebring and believes putting on a show will give people the opportunity to see what boxing is all about, as well as let them see what Henfield can do in the ring.
"If we do a show that should give us more credibility," he said. "Edwin Cherry did a lot for Wauchula boxing."
Carter said one reason he was always attracted to boxing was that you get out of it what you're willing to put into it, and Henfield is putting quite a bit into it.
"You're not going to get better unless you're willing to work harder, and he's working hard," Carter said. "He just needs to get out there and show people what he can do."
Anybody interested in becoming a boxer can reach Carter through the Hardee County Family YMCA at 773-6445.
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