BEFORE 57 kg boxer Nyrell Hosein heard his name call as champion during the Caribbean Boxing Championships in Guyana, on Saturday last, he knew the title was his.
Hosein, a form 4 student of North Eastern College, Sangre Grande beat Guyanese boxer, Christopher Romeo, last weekend in an unanimous decision by judges to bring home the Caribbean Boxing Championship’s 57 kg boxing trophy.
The 15-year-old hailing from Sangre Grande recalled the moment he won the title during a conversation with Newsday, saying that he had executed his game plan well and was confident he would come home with the trophy, but despite the adulation and celebrations he got when he won, the young champ did not think about the recognition and the fame he would get from his victory. All he could think about at that moment, was his family and friends in his hometown, who had been supporting him from the very start.
“It was a really good feeling knowing I won a medal for my country,” Hosein said, “But at that moment I was just thinking about my friends, my coach, and my parents and how they felt. I knew they would be proud. I felt proud as well,”
His mother, Maria, could not be in Guyana with him, but she tuned in to the fight as it streamed live online via the Guyana Boxing Association’s Facebook page. His brother, 17-year-old Tyrique, who also trains with him at their gym, the Biomel Boxing Gym, was on the sidelines when he received the trophy.
Hosein said his win was closely attributed to the training he received from his gym and the support of his mother and brother, who help him juggle training and academics.
He said he trained at the gym for three years and when it comes to his development as a boxer, his brother shows him the most support as the two train together every day.
“When we were younger we fought a lot,” Hosein said with a reminiscent smile, “But training has brought us closer. We do everything together now. We pick up each other when we fall back in training and in school. We spar together a lot as well. When we are sparring, it is all about working and uplifting each other. It’s a learning process for both of us. If I am doing something wrong he would tell me. If he is doing something wrong I would tell him.”
Hosein added his mother and brother also ensure that he does not only focus on boxing, but takes time to focus on his education and prepare for his future.
“My mother is very serious about school,” Hosein said, “If I lapse, she would pick up on it very seriously. But my family is very supportive of everything I do.”
Hosein said his favourite classes are Mechanical Engineering Technician (MET), technical drawing, and mathematics.
Hosein described his training regime as hard work but noted "only the strong survive". He said on regular days, he would train for three hours after attending school, but while he is training for a tournament, he pushes himself for an extra hour.
On days that he does not go to school, his training starts as early as 5 am. The teenager gets up and runs laps around the recreational grounds in his hometown of Bois Bande Village. Then he would go to the gym and hit the weights, and do shadow boxing and bag work.
The training is similar on school days, but he ensures that he makes time for study and home work.
When Hosein is not winning titles or studying, he is just a regular teenager who enjoys hanging out with friends and playing video games in his free time.
“I like Freefire (an online multiple-player first-person shooting game). My friends and I play that whenever I have time.”
Although he had not been to school since the bout last week because there were no exams, he knew he would be met with celebration as soon as he enters the compound when he next goes to school.
Even before the fight last Saturday the influence of friends and family and trainers stayed with Hosein. He said he had seen matches where Romeo fought and two nights prior to the fight he got another chance to see what he could do. He added that Commonwealth games bronze medallist Michael Alexander helped him with tips before the bout. Sitting in his hotel room moments before the bout, Hosein meditated on the match using advice from his trainers and fellow boxers.
“If I know my opponent from before, I would think about their flaws and use it against them,” Hosein said. "When I was in my room, I took a moment, and sat back and thought about what Romeo does and what I can do. I thought about what would work against him. I also tried to remember the pointers that Alexander gave to me as well.”
Hosein said he took Alexander’s pointers, along with his game plan and years of training into the ring. The results were staggering, especially for his opponent.
The gameplan worked almost perfectly, as Hosein knocked down Romeo twice – once in the first round, with a quick charge and again in the second round, as he countered a right hand swipe from the Guyanese southpaw. After the fight, Hosein’s phone was flooded with congratulations from his friends and schoolmates. Even the Guyanese officials at the bout congratulated him and commended his fighting ability.
Now, with a gold medal under his belt, Hosein is eyeing Olympic silverware and hopes to represent TT at the those Games in Tokyo 2020.