If you happen to be in Chester, Pa Friday night and you head out to Chester Casino, make sure you swing by and check out the boxing card for tonight. You might notice a newcomer to the pro circut by the name of Fred Jenkins Jr., who will be making his pro debut Friday night against Scott Bronner, in a super middleweight bout.
Jenkins’ Jr. had his first amateur bout at age 13, and from there he ripped through the ranks, winning some very recognizable titles, including Ringside Nationals, the Junior Olympic in Pennsylvania, Silver Gloves and of course the famed Junior Golden Gloves. His father Fred Sr. is a legandary trainer, but was not able to prepare his son for the notion of life without boxing.
“I was going to school, working two, three jobs, and it was taking time away from training, but my father wanted to make sure I had a back-up plan,” said Jenkins Jr. “I was working at a summer pool in 2007, and slipped and fell, split my head open. I was rushed to the hospital and they had to put in 13 stitches. I suffered a laceration on my skin and back of my forehead. My brain was ok, but I suffered a really bad concussion.”
At that moment Jenkins Jr. thought his once promising career, a career that so him dominate the amateur ranks with more than 40 fights to go along with various titles, was finished before it started.
“Doctors recommended that I never fight again, because of the concussion, and the fact that tissue takes time to heal and build back up.”
The worse part about the accident for Jenkins Jr. was the subsequent headaches and memory loss, so bad that he would just lie down in bed and pray the pain would go away.
“I couldn’t recount things and place and people. I couldn’t even understand numbers at times, and here I am, an honor student, who loved math and was part of the national honor society in high school in 2005, and I couldn’t remember little things.”
Two years later and against doctor’s wishes, Jenkins Jr. is ready to chase his dream, which started as a kid. “I was born around boxing. My dad kept me around the gym as a child, and from the first time I laced up the gloves I was hooked.”
“Not for a single second. My heart kept calling me back to boxing, I didn’t even think about that stuff.” I decided that I had to do this and one morning last October, I woke up and was moping around, and I said to myself, this I want to do. This is what God has in store for me. I’m a fighter. My mom was against me returning to boxing, but I have faith in God and he has a plan for me.
Many people that I have spoken to this week, said they would advise the kid from boxing, but the bottom line is he is going to do it anyway with his father at his side.
Easy to see why boxers are so stubborn.