He stood before the mirror at the national boxing gym, on Broad Street, next to the Sports Commission.
In a classic demonstration of footwork, the Liberian welterweight boxer moved back and forth, sweeping his head this way and that way.
His hands folded before him, and like he was engaged in a serious fight, he would bend slightly, as if he was dodging an opponent’s blow and swiftly counter attack with a right upper cut.
His face was without a smile, and with sweat streamed down his face, indication that he had been be in action for the last thirty minutes when I sneaked into the empty gym.
Without turning to look at the intruder, Henchmen, who last fought in a real fight in 2010, in a friendly bout organized by the now dormant Liberia Boxing Association, kept his focus.
Though a little over fight feet, Henchman ducked from left to right and danced around the gym.
Allowing his body to move to the left and to the right, the 27-year-old boxer kept his focus and like a butterfly kept dancing across the gym, not even looking at the broken ring to his left that he has pleaded for its replacement.
Outside, the inscription at the door said, ‘Baby Joe House of Pain’ which aptly describes the current condition of Liberian boxing.
Not many sports loving Liberians can ever mention the last time there was a boxing bout in the country or how exciting the sport is or who their favorite boxers are?
But Henchman hopes the future can be better if, “we can get a new boxing ring.”
“We train here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” Henchman told the Daily Observer yesterday, during training, “we are about seven boxers.”
The current training, he said is part of the preparation for the 2016 Brazil Olympics.
“The 2016 Brazil Olympics is far away,” the boxer was told, “is there any immediate tournament to keep the seven boxers active?”
Henchman said he had no idea but as a boxer, “it is better for me to train and get myself in shape,” which suggests that something is seriously wrong here.
Actually, athletes prepare for a competition because an athlete cannot train because he wants.
But in the current case, if Henchman is train for the 2016 Brazil Olympics, more than one year from now, then there is something fundamentally wrong.
Though I was impressed with the young man’s sense of purpose, there is absolutely no way that without a ring and a regular tournament to sharpen his skills, he would be able to withstand a serious fight like in the Olympics.
Thankfully, Henchman is motivated by Liberian professional boxer Archie Weah of Atlanta, Georgia, (United States), who has expressed his desire to be part of the Liberian delegation for the Brazil Olympics.
“I’ve heard of him (Archie Weah) and it is helping me to focus,” Henchman said, while at the same time pleading for a boxing ring, hoping that Archie Weah would continue to inspire many other boxers.