Saundre Simmons keen to showcase boxing skills for Bermuda
Saundre Simmons says representing Bermuda would be an honour and a dream come true.
If all goes according to plan, the amateur boxer hopes to have the opportunity to do so before he turns professional in the not-too-distant future.
“It would most definitely be the highest honour to represent my country on an international platform,” Simmons told The Royal Gazette. “To represent my country before I went pro, that would be a dream come true.”
Despite having been born in the United States to Bermudian parents, the 24-year-old is eligible to compete for the island.
“He sent us a Bermudian passport, which makes him eligible,” Nathan Dill, the Bermuda Boxing Federation president, confirmed.
Dill and national coach Jermel Woolridge extended an invitation to Simmons to join the national team earlier this year.
“National coach Jermel Woolridge and I had the pleasure to discuss with him what representation of the island as part of the national team would look like, and we ultimately offered Saundre a place on the national team,” Dill added.
“Although it is now too late to include him on the list for the Commonwealth Games, we are still hopeful that the idea of remaining as an amateur for a short time longer to represent Bermuda, at either the AIBA Mens Championship, CAC Games or the Pan Am Games, might be appealing for Mr Simmons before he ultimately turns pro.”
The orthodox fighter, whose amateur record stands at six wins and three loses from nine bouts, had initially intended on turning professional in the new year.
“I have three national tournaments under my belt so I was looking to go pro next year,” Simmons said. “I will take some more amateur bouts just to stay busy, but I’m working on going pro, which has always been my goal.
“It’s very easy to go pro, which I was thinking about doing it a long time ago. I just wanted to make sure I had the amateur resume’ for it.
“You can sign the paper and go pro; that’s how easy it is for some people. But I know I have hung around with the best in America in the amateur league. The people we are going to be seeing on television in the next ten years, I’ve rubbed shoulders with them which makes me a bit more confident in my skill.”
The North Carolina resident underlined his enormous potential having finished runner up in the cruiserweight and light heavyweight divisions at the prestigious Golden Gloves of America Tournament and United States national team trials this year.
He is ranked second nationally in the amateur light heavyweight division having reached the final at the US national team trials in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he lost against American Abimbola Osundairo on points.
“He was the better man that night,” Simmons said. “But that number one spot wasn’t that far away.
“I could have had that first place. It wasn’t out of my reach and makes me want to go back and get it. But it’s boxing and it is what it is.
“It was a great lesson, great experience. I found out a lot about myself so I can’t really complain.”
He reached the final after getting past James Wohlschlegel and Tyrone Russ in his opening two bouts at the event held at the Shreveport Convention Center from December 5 to 11.
Simmons also came up just short of glory at the Golden Gloves held in Tulsa, Oklahoma from August 9 to 14.
He beat Nelson Roberson, Luigi Griego, Clyde Johnson and Adrian Prieto before losing to Jkhory Gibson on points in the final at the Cox Business Center.
“Again I was right there,” Simmons added. “Again I don’t feel like he was the better man on the night.”
Simmons’s impressive exploits in the ring have not gone unnoticed by local boxing authorities in Bermuda.
“The Bermuda Boxing Federation is more than happy to see a son of the soil reach the accomplishments that Mr Simmons has achieved in boxing,” association president Dill said. “Saundre first came to our attention a few years ago when I was networking to find potential opponents for our Bermuda team of boxers.
“One gym we reached out to mentioned that they had been working with a Bermudian fighter. At that time this came as a great surprise to me as I normally am at least somewhat knowledgeable of who is out there and training. It made sense for Saundre to have first gone unnoticed, however, as he has spent most of his developing years overseas.
“Mr Simmons has never competed locally. But it would be fantastic to see him on one of our cards on island in the near future.”