If you haven’t read or listened to the incredible story of Anthony Sims Jr. yet, then you really need to. The extremely articulate and charismatic light-heavyweight has led a rollercoaster life to say the least and is also an estranged cousin of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Since teaming up with Matchroom USA, Sims Jr. has opened up about his backstory with IFL TV and other media outlets and it really is an eye-opener into the darker side of boxing. In a heart-warming interview this week, Sims Jr. discussed the power and rippling impact of loss on psychology and life - not only did his father die in a car crash when he was 6 years old, but his closest friend took his own life three years ago too.
Mental health has been a big problem in boxing for years. Anthony talks frankly about his own depression problems as well as how suicide is selfish and a permanent solution to a temporary problem in an attempt to encourage to do the same. These issues should be spoken about much more than they are, but somehow aren’t. Kugan Cassius and IFL TV have done a sensational job in recent times to promote and raise awareness of mental health in boxing, joining forces with the likes of Anthony Sims Jr, Lucien Reid, Don Charles and Tyson Fury, who share their own incredible personal backstories.
Things got so bad for Sims growing up at one stage that he developed a bad stutter after his father’s death and had to communicate in class using a whiteboard. Losing your father to at such a young age cannot get more gut-wrenching than that, but to then lose your best friend to the same thing, one can only imagine the demons that that would bring to a man of his young age. He even leaves an empty seat at ringside for all his fights where he imagines his father watching him. If even one person in the sport (or in general) who is struggling with mental health watches this interview and changes their mind about suicide then it has done it justice.
Sims speaks of how much anger he still feels towards losing his father, leaving him with the consequences, without him and to pick up the pieces… all of the what ifs… and says that anyone struggling with depression needs to think about what and who they are leaving behind.
You only have to look at the likes of Tyson Fury who went through enormous battles with depression and suicidal thoughts to the point where he opened up about it so much that it was almost a cry for help. In reality, what did boxing do for him? The answer: probably not a lot.
In football, we have the Mind Campaign which raises awareness for mental health in the sport, but in boxing there seriously needs to be more done to help boxers.
Anthony Sims Jr.’s international fan base is growing rapidly and if he comes to England at any point I am certain he will get one hell of a reception. Interviews like the one he did with IFL TV are going a long way towards raising the important awareness, and if you still have not watched it make sure it is the next thing you do.
Sims returns to action in Kansas tonight in an unusual drop down to super-middleweight from light-heavy.