Beat me, then I will quit: Simon

> Kaipaherue Kandjii

Windhoek – Namibia’s undefeated professional boxer and former two time world champion Harry Simon (43) says he will not hang up his gloves, unless someone comes out and beats him, only then will he call it quits.

In a candid interview this past week, the former champion pleaded for a second chance to revive his career.

Simon was expected to step into the ring this month on September 26, against his former gym partner Joseph Lubega from Uganda in Windhoek, but due to a lack of sponsorship, the fight was postponed to an unspecified date.

“I was never beaten in 20 years of professional boxing, why should I retire. I don’t know why we Namibians like to badmouth each other. I opened doors for Namibian boxing, before me there was no Namibian boxing world champion.

“Look at boxers like Bernard Hopkins, he is the greatest boxer of all time, yet nobody asked him to retire. And it’s not only in America, but in South Africa, we had Thulani Malinga, who retired at 47, so why should I be forced into retirement,” said an irate Simon.

He has a glittering career inside the ring which includes a WBO Light Middleweight (1998) title, which he defended four times, an interim WBO Middleweight in 2001 and a WBO Middleweight title in 2002. But it was his wayward past exploits outside the ring which proved to be “a thorn in the flesh” of his boxing career.

In November 2002, his career took a tumble following a horrific road accident when his top of the range Mercedes SUV collided with another vehicle belonging to Belgian tourists between the coastal towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.

Three European tourists died in the accident. And Simon was convicted for culpable homicide and served two years at Walvis Bay Prison.

Simon who was known as “The Terminator” was stripped of his WBO Middleweight title as he was unable to defend it due to injuries he sustained in the accident.

But Simon remains unapologetic about his misfortunes, saying human beings are susceptible to making mistakes and reckons that he is the “greatest boxer” Namibia has ever seen, and he will fight until his body says “no”.

“Nobody is perfect and we are all not equal. We are all human beings and we all make mistakes, at some point in our lives,” he said.

“There is nobody on this earth, who doesn’t make a mistake. And I am surprised about how things have turned out. When you are up there, people ask themselves, when you will fall and they say all sorts of things, but that’s how life is I guess.”

The veteran boxer maintained that he is still active, and has more hand speed than most boxers, including the “upcoming young boys” and plans to fight two to three more matches, before retiring.

“I will fight until my body says no. I am still active. I am hoping to give my fans two or three before I retire. I will put my gloves on, go to the gym and do my country proud, just like I did in the past,” he said.

His attempts to come back to the ring have been dogged by lack of sponsorship. Recently, his stable Harry Simon Onkugo Promotions, and Kinda Boxing Promotions failed to secure financial support from the corporate sector, forcing the September 26 bout to be postponed.

But Simon remains optimistic: “The fight will definitely happen, that I can assure you. But all in all I am a fighter, and I don’t do logistics. I just go to the gym, and told when I will fight, that’s my job.”

He was responding to the postponement of the fight against Joseph Lubega.

Meanwhile, Simon took a swipe at his unnamed detractors who are peddling rumours about his real age – that he is “past his sell by date” stressing that they don’t concern him, and that they keep lying about his age for reasons known to them only.

“I hear people who keep lying about my age. This one says I am 42, while the other one is saying I am 43, as if they gave birth to me. I was born in 1974 and if you do the maths you will know my real age, I am 41 (years old),” he claimed.

In 2013 Simon won the vacant IBF International Light Heavyweight title against Geard Ajetovi, in a fiercely contested fight that left tongues wagging, with some calling it a “draw” and hinting at him, to consider retirement after it emerged that he injured his arm in that fight.

He further said, he and his management are looking at the prospect of bringing American boxer Roy Jones Junior, early next year, in what was deemed his “retirement match”, and negotiations are at an advanced stage for that fight to be a reality.

“We approached a few professional boxers, and some where asking for US$8 million for a fight, and considering that these guys get paid over U$25 million for a fight, we opted for Roy Jones Junior who asked us for a mere US$500 000 purse. He (Roy Jones Jr) seemed very excited about coming to Africa, and we are hoping for that to be a reality, sooner, “he added.

September 2015
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