Fathers training their sons is a time honored tradition in the sweet science. Often times, a special, but quite complex bond is built between father and son. Some of these arrangements work, while others have caused more harm than good.
Often, we see dads living vicariously through their sons, too much, as they oversee their offspring while subconsciously thinking it is they who are gloving up.
And then, you have a situation like the Rahmans are in: a former world champion in the corner of his son.
Is he a chip off the old block? Time tells…
It was 2001 when Hasim Rahman shocked the world by knocking out Lennox Lewis and becoming the heavy weight champion.
In the crowd in South Africa stood a nine year old boy who envisioned one day being “heir to the throne.”
That boy is now 27 years old and a professional fighter. Please let me introduce you to Hasim Rahman Jr.
Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, Rahman Jr. faced some of the challenges that can come with having his father being a professional fighter. One of those challenges was having a limited relationship. The other was being deemed “man of the house” while his father was in training camps and keeping active. Rahman Jr. watched over his younger siblings, making sure they went to school and stayed out of trouble. His mother carried a lot of the responsibilities of maintaining the household and as he said, “she didn’t play and everyone knew not to mess with her kids!”
He learned a lot in the years he spent in Park Heights and he credits the city of Baltimore and the environment for teaching him the life lessons which prepared him for adulthood.
Let's get to know Rahman Jr….
Question from Abe: Hasim, first I would like to congratulate you on your unanimous decision win on Saturday in Minnesota and thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Growing up, what would you say was the defining moment that made you want to pursue the career as a boxer?
Answer from Rahman Jr: That night that my father knocked out Lennox Lewis was when I said to myself, I want to be a fighter and a world champion just like him! Speaking of that, I want correct some people and have them “put some respek” on my dad’s name as he was the undisputed heavyweight champion, not the unified. (Lennox had all of the belts but gave up the WBC prior to fighting his father).
Q: In high school, you played football and were good enough to be offered some opportunities to play after high school but you decided to go into boxing full time, what changed?
A: As I was doing some research on the possibilities of actually becoming a pro football player and the obstacles that may come along the way, I figured I would have a better chance to be Lennox Lewis than Ray Lewis. In my research, I also discovered that there has never been a father and son who both won the heavyweight championship. That right there gave me the motivation I needed. I started out by working out at the famous Kronk Gym and the great Emanuel Stewart told me to just stick to it and you will be successful. He didn’t allow me to spar so I ended up in one of the Klitschko camps where I did get to spar but was beat up pretty good. After that, I knew that I wanted to be get better at my craft in order to become a champion in the future.
Q) In 2014, you had a car accident and due to the circumstances surrounding the situation, you spent some time in jail (28 months). What were some of the things going through your head during those 28 months?
A) The situation was “a wrong place/wrong time” scenario but I owned up to it and thought only about boxing while I was incarcerated. God gave me the strength to handle anything and I looked to former champions like Bernard Hopkins, as an example and motivation to not allow the situation to beat me when I was released.
Q) So now you're fighting and you sign a promotional deal with Greg Cohen Promotions. What made you go with Greg Cohen versus one of the other promotion companies?
A) Greg Cohen really believes in me and my boxing abilities. He is someone that we have known for 20 years and is considered family to me. It was an easy choice and I believe he will give me the best opportunity to win a world title.
Q) Let’s talk about Hasim the man for a minute. Last year you and your wife faced something that no couple would want to ever face. Would you mind sharing a little about the incident?
A) Yes, last December I lost my son Jibra’il in the delivery room when my wife was in labor. It was a very difficult time for us but I know he is watching everyday and that is why I dedicate each and every fight to him.
Q) On a lighter note, what are some things that the ordinary person wouldn’t know about you?
A) Growing up, I went to a Catholic high school, I visited Saudi Arabia twice as part of a pilgrimage and speak Arabic fluently, am currently a full time student at Southern Nevada and I am pursuing a degree in photography/videography/film.
Q) In looking through your Instagram account, I see you’re a gamer. Tell the readers a little bit about this.
A) I am a hardcore gamer, specifically Fortnite and Madden. I do play a little NBA 2K at times. Fans can DM me on my Instagram account and I will give them my gamer tag. I heard Teofimo Lopez has some skills on Fortnite so I will have to try to get up with him and see if it’s true.
Q) Do you have any funny stories that involve you and your father?
A) Yes, we have a ton of them, however the one that comes to mind is something that happened on April Fools day one year. My father is the self-proclaimed April Fools king and one year, allowed for us to get him on that day. I waited until the following year when I asked him to borrow his Bentley to go to school. He thought it was an April fools joke however little did he know I REALLY took the Bentley to school. I doubled parked on purpose so that the school could announce it on the loud speaker to move the Bentley that was double-parked. He didn’t notice until lunch time but when he came to get the car, he knew I got him good.
Q) How soon can we expect you back in the ring and where can fans follow you on social media?
A) Right now their aren’t any set plans but I personally would like to fight three more times prior to the end of the year. My twitter is @_hasimrahmanjr and my instagram is @hasimrahmanjr.
In seeing some of the highlights from his previous fights, it looks like he carries the Rahman “iron fists” and it will be very intriguing to see his development and how he progresses in the future in a division that is really starting to gain more and more momentum. Make sure you keep an eye out as he will continue to be one to watch.