INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — While Saturday night’s big fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has the boxing community in Indianapolis excited, the fight has special significance for Anthony Sims, Jr.
He is Floyd Mayweather’s cousin. But home is here in Indianapolis for Anthony Sims, and he is trying to build a boxing community.
Sims has a ferocious right hook, but when it comes to boxing, he is a renaissance man.
“It’s an art. People don’t understand, but a boxing ring is called a canvas,” he said. “What do you paint on? A canvas. When a canvas stains, you can’t take it off, just like with a painter’s canvas. Except our paint brushes are our limbs.”
Indy born and raised and a mere 22 years old, Sims has been boxing since the age of 7, after his father, also a boxer, passed away.
“Here my mind blanks out. I’m at peace,” he said.
It’s not for everyone.
“Heart. If you don’t have heart, don’t think about boxing,” Sims said.
But boxing is for Anthony. He’s fought around the world, competed in the 2012 Olympics and is represented by the legendary boxing promoter Don King. He does also have that famous cousin.
As Sims kept getting better and better, he wanted his own ring. So he took his first professional boxing paycheck and bought a gym on East 10th Street in 2014.
But Sims Boxing Gym quickly became something more.
“Kids kept stopping by, kept stopping by. And said, might as well open it to the public,” he said.
Now more than 100 kids as young as 7 are learning Anthony’s art. They’re fighting competitively, but Anthony wants them to be better kids — learning discipline, heart and courage.
“Need all that to come here to box. You may not be a champion in this ring, but you’ll be a champion outside,” Sims said.
The kids have a role model training alongside, who many call an inspiration. Others say they want to follow his path to the Olympics and become pro boxers, too.
Anthony has big dreams, too — but about more than just boxing.
“That’s the plan: to become a world champion, but if not, be a champion to the children.”