The CBZ Newswire

Edner Cherry: From Orange Groves to TV Lights

by on Feb.18, 2012, under Boxing News, Juan Ayllon

By Juan C. Ayllon

Photo courtesy of Team Cherry

Photo courtesy of Team Cherry

CHICAGO, February 18, 2012 – There is something to be said for hard physical labor. It toughens a person, inside and out. Working the fields and farmlands, one learns the importance of getting the job done – you don’t work, you don’t eat. It’s not glorious; it’s humbling. It’s demanding. It requires discipline. What’s more, bad weather can erase a season’s yields and send one scrambling to salvage what’s left for another go. You learn to make do with resources stretched thin, day-in and day-out, in hopes of reaping a robust harvest.

Even the apostle Paul tipped his hat to such endeavors when he said, “a man reaps what he sows.”

You can hear it in his voice. It’s frank, matter-of-fact and confident. Boxer Edner “the Cherry Bomb” Cherry is reaping the lessons of such a life. A rugged puncher with a record of 28-6-2 with 16 knockouts, he has fought three world champions, Jose Armando Santa Cruz, Paul Malignaggi, and Timothy Bradley, and come up short. He has never been stopped. Moreover, he has won such minor belts as the WBC USNBC Lightweight Title, NBA Intercontinental Lightweight Title, WBC CABOFE (Caribean Boxing Federation) Lightweight Title and the NABA Lightweight Title. At 5′ 8″, he sports a tiny but ripped wasp waist. Now, he is fighting at the 130 lb. division, a weight more suitable to his slight frame, and is attempting to gain what has eluded him in the two divisions above: A world title.

Backing him towards that end are managers Pat Doljanin and Albert Falcon of Warehouse Boxing Gym of Highland Park, Illinois and 8 Count Productions as his promoter.

“Edner walks around at a 140 pounds and in the last couple of years has fought at 130,” says Doljanin. “He’s incredibly strong in that division and ready to face any of the top junior lightweights in the sport.”

With wins over Stevie Johnston (KO in 10 rounds), Monty Meza-Clay (TKO in 11), Daniel Alicea (TKO in 12), Jaime Rangel (majority decision in 12) and Wes Ferguson (TKO in 6), it appears that he has the wherewithal.

On Friday, February 24th, Edner Cherry faces Guillermo Sanchez, a respectable fighter from Puerto Rico with a record of 13-4-1 with 5 knockouts, at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. Assuming all goes well, he will embark on managements’ plans of working up to a world title shot within a year.

It has been a long haul. Born in Nassau, Jamaica to parents Merilien (the father) and Marilia Cherry, Edner was accompanied by a full brood when he arrived at America’s shores: Francois Cherry (kid brother), Jimmy Cimeus (older step brother), Marecelen Cimeus, Meriliene Cimeus, Merislene Cimeus and Jimson Cimeus. His parents supported their blended family by picking oranges.

Eleven years old when they moved to the East Coast, Edner and his siblings often labored alongside their parents. “I was in the field working,” he says. “It was rough growing up, watching my mom and dad working in the orange groves.” He sighs. “We’d go with them on Saturdays to help out and, after that was done, we’d go up north to work tobacco, sweet potatoes and cucumbers…in North Carolina.”

He ran track and played basketball in junior high and, later, was involved in track and football in high school. “I didn’t pass my test to get my high school diploma,” he says, “but after that, I finished high school.”

Talking via phone, Cherry touched on life inside and outside of the ring.

On his amateur boxing experience:

I started when I was 14 years old. A place called Wauchula, Florida. It’s about an hour and a half from Tampa. I had about 30, close to 40 amateur fights because I wasn’t a U.S. citizen. To advance to the US Nationals, you had to have a U.S. Citizenship. The guys that I beat, they let them go [to Nationals competition]. There was no way for me to advance.

On how it feels to come so close to winning a world title, but falling short against the likes of Jose Armando Santa Cruz, Paulie Malignaggi, and Timothy Bradley:

It’s a learning process. Fighting these guys, it’s an honor. Falling short right there means like, man, I almost got it! When I fought Malignaggi and Bradley, I moved up [in weight]. That tells me I could be a world champion at my weight class.”

On how his faith affects his outlook on boxing:

Oh, man! I truly believe in myself. Like, if nobody tapped me on my shoulder, I’ll give myself a tap on my shoulder. That’s why I put in the work hard! First thing, I’ve got God. I put him first. I believe in Christ. I mean, some people say ‘God this’ and ‘God that’. But I truly have God in my life!

On his relationship with his parents:

We have a great relationship! We talk. I love to visit with them. Having a parent to talk to them is so important! Some parents and kids don’t talk…

On his family life:

I have a beautiful wife (Elizabeth) and four beautiful kids back in Florida. Right now, [Elizabeth] is at home fulltime with the kids, home-schooling.

On the matter of hobbies:

I spend time with the family. I have to find me a hobby. I play me a little basketball…but I don’t have a hobby that I stick with, something to do when I’m bored.

On the sentiment that boxing is dead, that it’s not what it used to be:

I would say that boxing ain’t dead. It’s just how they’re matching up people. Back then, people weren’t ducking one another. Now, they are robbing people of the good matches. It’ just [about] putting the right people together, the right matches.

On his upcoming fight versus Guillermo Sanchez:

Anyone stepping through the ropes is a true man. It’s not that easy. It’s not just throwing punches. I’m not taking anything away from him; I wish him well in life. I think he’s a great fighter.

No predictions, none at all, just ready to have a good night, just ready to put on a good show, that’s all.

On the prospects of winning a world title:

I want a world title [belt] to wrap around my waist. It will be like a dream come true! [Then,] I just want to continue to fight the best, rely on my teams and coaches, my manager, 8 Count, and always make the right decisions.

On life after boxing:

I would love to start a gym, train kids and take them out of trouble. I don’t want to completely leave boxing. I want to keep the foundation and give kids the same opportunity that I had. Even if they don’t go on to be a boxer like me, I would like to help them to be disciplined.

* * *

Surely, if he can pass on those lessons – the drive, the discipline, the rewards of hard work, and the faith – forged in orange groves and boxing rings, he will help others achieve their dreams long after he’s fulfilled his.

It doesn’t get much brighter than that.


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