PEARL, Miss. (WJTV) — Monday through Friday you can find Coach Bombay at the Pearl Boxing Club.
“I came up here during Hurricane Katrina – I was looking for a place to box,” Bombay said. “I came over to the Pearl Boxing Club, but they had shut it down. They agreed to let me open it up, and I started the gym over here, so since I’ve been up and running we’ve won best boxing club five years in a row.”
One of the guys he’s currently working with is Chown Sims, AKA Chop Chop
“Just like you chop down a tree or just like how when you’re cutting something – you’re chopping in to it, you’re breaking it down, that’s the way I go about my goals,” Sims said. “I’m not fast, I’m not strong, I just work hard and I chop at my goals.”
Chop Chop moved here from LA a few years ago, to be with his Grandma in her final days. Shortly after, he put on the gloves for the first time.
“I was trying to get in shape to go to the Army. One day my coach was like ‘hey we’re sparring today’ and I was like ‘oh ok’. (He said) ‘well here’s a mouth piece and headgear’. I was like ‘you mean I’m sparring?’ He’s like ‘yeah’. I tried it and I fell in love ever since,” Sims said.
Shawn started chopping away at his big goal – the Olympics. But when it didn’t work out, he considered quitting.
“My dream fell down. I ended up losing the first day. And then I tried to go the Golden Glove way. And I ended up losing again the first day. And I was just thinking maybe boxing wasn’t for me. And one day Coach Bombay called me and he was just like hey man what’s going on?”
“I saw him on Facebook,” Bombay said. “Matter of fact he’s on Facebook – talking about how he’s going to quit boxing, and go to liquor store and drink his life away. That wasn’t like him, he don’t even talk like that. He’s a good kid.”
“I hate losing,” Sims said. “I’ve never really been a loser. And when I lose, I didn’t know how to take it. And it hit me hard.”
“I reached out to him and I was like ‘Chop what’s going on?’,” Bombay said. “You don’t drink or smoke or nothing. He said ‘coach I’m just discouraged, I’m not going to box no more. I lost my last two fights when I went to this other gym’. And so I said ‘come back over here I got you’.”
“He was just like come over here I’ll turn your career around. And that’s what he did,” Sims said.
Since teaming up with Coach Bombay, Chown hasn’t lost. After winning his first pro fight – it was off to Tuscaloosa Alabama to face undefeated Ke’Eric Hinton, the hometown favorite.
“I was the underdog,” Sims said. “I’ve been the underdog my whole life. So it was really nothing different in this fight. There were about 2,000 people there. That’s the biggest crowd that I’ve ever seen.”
“I told him don’t worry about the crowd we’re about to beat him,” Bombay said. “We’re going to get on his butt in the first round and we’re going to take the crowd out of the fight. That’s what that man went out there and did.”
Sims handed Hinton his first loss, winning by unanimous decision.
He’s now 2-0 as a pro, and getting ready for his next fight against Billy Cunningham in October. In the meantime, he’ll keep chopping away.
“A lot of these fighters, man, they start off as a pro and they’re going to look for bums to fight and build their record up,” Bombay said. “He fought two undefeated fighters and beat them, so nowhere to go but up for him.”
“I want to give the people that are just like me – with depression, and that suffer from a lot of things – I want to give them hope,” Sims said. “And show them that no matter what you go through, if you work hard enough you can overcome anything and be anything you want in this world.”