The CBZ Newswire

Acclaimed Trainer and Former Contender ‘Iceman’ John Scully Interviews Boxer Ron Simms

by on Oct.20, 2014, under Boxing News

By John “Iceman” Scully

 

Ron Simms, at left, seen fighting his first match of the Pan American Games in 1995 against Canadian Peter Pestowka -- a bout that he reportedly won easily (http://www.defenseimagery.mil)

Ron Simms, at left, seen fighting his first match of the Pan American Games in 1995 against Canadian Peter Pestowka — a bout that he reportedly won easily (photo source: http://www.defenseimagery.mil) .

For the my third interview in what I hope will be an endless stream, I have decided to go back and touch base with a decorated amateur peer of mine from the late 1980′s.

Ron Simms, representing the United States Air Force (via Washington, D.C.), competed in at least two tournaments that I did (the 1988 U.S. Championships and the 1988 U.S. Olympic trials). Ron also qualified for the 1995 Pan-Am Games after defeating two top rated Americans, Shane Shwartz and Dana Rucker. Ron proudly represented the United States Air Force and the United States of America on his way to capturing a bronze medal at 165 pounds after winning two bouts before losing in the semis to the awesome two-time Cuban Olympic Gold medalist, Ariel Hernandez.

Remaining an amateur for such an extended time Ron became one of the very few men in amateur boxing history to actually qualify for and compete in three different Olympic trials (1988, 1992 and 1996)

From the beginning of his career boxing for the Air Force in the early 1980′s all the way to the 1996 U.S. Olympian trials, Ron consistently matched up with a high level of competition that spanned three different Olympic classes. From future world champions Quincy Taylor (in 1985) and Frankie Liles (1988) to future world ranked contenders Lamar “Kidfire” Parks and Tim Littles to two-time Cuban Gold Medalist Ariel Hernandez and 1996 U.S. Olympian Roshii Wells, Ronald Simms faced many of the best that amateur boxing had to offer in the 156 and 165 pound divisions between 1985 and 1996.

While most amateur boxers at the national level compete in the run up to a particular Olympic year (1980, 1984, 1988, etc) before going professional, Ron Simms, as a devoted military man, maintained his amateur status for over a decade before turning professional in 2000 at the age of thirty-six. Fighting as a professional for just over two years, Ron compiled a record of 11 wins and no losses with eight knockout wins to his credit.

He retired at that point to focus on coaching amateur boxers, which he has done ever since.

 ICE: Ron, in a nutshell, how did you get started boxing?

RON SIMMS: I got started boxing while stationed at Grand Forks AFB walked into the base gym and saw a poster for Air Force Sports. I always wanted to box since the age of seven. I was told to submit a resume. I desperately wanted to make the team so I put down that I had seven fights with seven “knockout” wins, not knowing that in amateur boxing it was called an “RSC” (referee stops contest, the amateur equivalent of a technical knockout). I was accepted and won the AF Boxing Championship and continued from there.

ICE: When you were very young in the game, who did you idolize in the sport?

RON SIMMS: I have idolized Muhammad Ali since I was seven and wanted to be just like him.

 ICE: What is the best fight you have ever watched, either live or on TV?

RON SIMMS: The best fight that I have watched on TV would be the Hagler/Hearns fight while the best amateur fight live that I’ve seen is the Andre Berto-Vanes Martyrosian 2004 Olympic Trials fight.

 ICE: Who is your favorite fighter of all time and why?

RON SIMMS: I would have to go with Joe Louis, he was so technically sound always on balance and he seemed to be a respectful individual.

 ICE: What is your favorite moment from your boxing career?

RON SIMMS: There have been so many moments that I cherish in having moments with all the people that I interacted with but the greatest is reaching my goal of becoming rated number one in my weight class (165)in the country

 ICE: Tell me about your trainer (or trainers, if you’ve had more than one).

RON SIMMS: My main trainer, Gene Guess, became a father figure. He always wanted more punches to be thrown and felt that if you are in top condition you would have a chance to beat anyone. He taught me balance and power and he was also the first African-American to win the Texas State Golden Gloves. He was old school and taught me old school stuff. He even gave me an old album that was a collaboration of old jazz musicians Dizzy Gillipse, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker and other greats that played across the street the night of a Joe Louis fight.

 ICE: Of all the people you sparred, even among the lesser known boxers, who was the one guy you really didn’t look forward to sparring with??? Maybe they hit really hard, maybe they were just really awkward for you. Who was it?

RON SIMMS: I did not like sparring (light heavyweight and cruiserweight from Idaho) Kenny Keene. I had watched him fight and he seemed to be a rugged fighter, but he was also very deceptive. He looked slow but somehow he would hit you before you recognized the punch was even coming. And my punches seemed to not affect him at all.

 ICE: When you first started boxing who were the top dogs in your area, the better or more well known boxers? The ones you looked up to?

RON SIMMS: In the amateurs it was (three time U.S. National Champion) Loren Ross, (1986 World Amateur Champion) Darin Allen and the Cuban, Angel Espinosa, who was a monster. Roy Jones was a younger kid but as a teenager he was beating up grown men. One of my teammates fought him in Biloxi, Mississippi and lost to him.

 ICE: Who was your favorite sparring partner (you can name more than one if you want to) and why?

RON SIMMS: Randy Callendar because he was always there and he was fast and did not show me any fear.

 ICE: What is or was your absolute favorite part of being a boxer?

RON SIMMS: My absolute favorite part of boxing is the experience of meeting and talking to other boxers throughout the years and reminiscing about the trips and experiences that we went through back in the days. That is the pinnacle of boxing and life!

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