By Joseph Herron: On Friday, February 1st, Junior Middleweight prospect Omar Henry passed away at age 25, after battling gallbladder cancer for the past three months.
After learning of the tragic news, trainer Ronnie Shields expressed his sympathy for his former fighter on this Sunday’s edition of “The Pugilist KOrner’s: Weekend Wrap”.
“I trained Omar Henry in the beginning of his professional career, and we always had a lot of fun in the gym. He was a fun-loving and jovial character. He was always making people laugh and telling jokes.”
“But when it came time to put the head gear on and lace up the gloves, you had to be ready because Omar was coming to get you. He didn’t mess around in the ring. He was coming. He was like a train on a track. It didn’t matter if he had head gear on or not, he was coming to get you.”
“That’s just how he was. Omar had the biggest heart in the world and he was a ferocious competitor. I used to call him ‘short-cut’ because he always wanted to blow fighters out in the ring as soon as the bell rang.”
“He asked me once why I called him short cut. Because you like to knock everybody out early. You don’t want to give anyone a chance. Fight fans want to see some rounds.”
“His response was, ‘I don’t want go rounds with anyone. I don’t need any rounds against someone who’s trying to knock me out. That’s why I train hard every day’. He was a character. That’s just the way he was.”
Known for his tenacity in the ring and crushing knock-out power, Omar was a force to be reckoned with while he was active. Unfortunately, the Chi-town native wasn’t working as a prizefighter very often throughout the final two and a half years of his life.
Due to contract and management disputes, he changed locations and teams between 2010 and 2011. The hard hitting fighter was completely inactive during that time as a result. Under the promotional banner of DK Productions, Omar was able to compete three times between June of 2011 and June of 2012.
Mr. Shields insists Omar had the goods to eventually become a world champion if he ever received the opportunity.
“There was no doubt that Omar would have been a world champion if he just had the chance. I told him he was going to be something special in boxing because he wasn’t leery about fighting anyone. He would spar with everybody in the gym. It didn’t make a difference who they were, how big they were, or what style they brought to the ring, he fought them all the same way.”
“He was going to take it to you no matter who you were.”
“I remember when he sparred with Kermit Cintron. Man, Kermit couldn’t handle him. I kept telling Kermit that he had to exercise patience when fighting a guy like Omar. That’s just the way he was. He was going to keep coming at you until he made you break.”
“Kermit came back after the first round of sparring asking me ‘how am I supposed to be patient with that? He’s like a buzz-saw. He’s all over me.’ But Kermit learned a lot from Omar and vice versa, and that’s what it’s all about in the gym.”
“It’s just a real shame that Omar’s career didn’t pan out like he wanted it to. But sometimes that happens when a fighter jumps from ship to ship. Omar was very young and he thought, just like all of us, that he had time on his side. It’s a real shame that he was taken away before he could become a world champion.”
As an amateur, Omar Henry was exceptional, earning a stellar 60-5 record. The longtime Houston, Texas, resident ended his career with a promising 12-0-1, with 9 knock-out victories.
Although his life ended prematurely, Omar Henry will be remembered fondly by those who were close to him. He will be sorely missed.
Rest in Peace, Champ!!