Prince Plans on Making History at 2021 Olympics
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
After stepping on a weigh-in scale twenty-one years ago, middleweight amateur boxer Aaron Prince is set to face the best boxers in the world at the 2021 Olympic Games in Japan. Yes, at 35 years old, Prince has qualified for the Olympic Games and has joined an elite crew of four (including himself) as the only Trinbagonians to ever qualify for an Olympic Games. The other members of this elite club of Olympian boxers are Kurt Sinnette, Carlos Suarez and Nigel Paul who participated in the 1996, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games respectively.
An accomplishment like this doesn’t just jump into your lap and the 35-year old labeled his determination and perseverance as the main sources of his success. “...sheer resilience, perseverance, determination! I never gave up since I started boxing, never took a break from the sport. Pure determination and the ability to adapt, to learn and to keep moving forward.” Prince told T&T Sport Diary. Unlike many athletes, Prince had no intentions on becoming a boxer. Uniquely, he indicated that his first love was really gymnastics and boxing happened to be ‘by-the-way’, per se. “My first love for any sport was gymnastics and I would wait for the Olympics to come around just to watch gymnastics. I would watch athletics… but it was the gymnastics for me, I knew their names, (laughs), I knew all their names” he reminisced when questioned on which sport he’d be doing if he wasn’t boxing.
At age fourteen he visited the Cosmic Boxing Gym in Marabella where his older brother Simeon was a boxer. His curiosity landed him his first fight as he harmlessly went on a competition scale to check his weight and was before he knew it he was paired up with another boxer who he spontaneously had to fight. “It wasn’t until one day that I went on a competition scale to see what my weight was because as he (Simeon) explained to me that you fight in categories and you only know what category you fight in based on your weight. Basically, I had to fight, they matched me up against another fighter based on my weight and even though I had no training, I had to fight… and that was the story of my first fight.” he recalled as he spoke to T&T Sport Diary.
Formerly of Gladiators Boxing Gym, locally, he represents the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force and as the stars continue to align for him, national team coach Reynold Cox is also employed there and the pair have been working together for quite some time.
So! How does it feel to qualify for an Olympic Games? It’s definitely the creme de la creme of boxing and according to Prince, the feeling is very surreal but in a good kind of way.
However, as the honeymoon phase passes by, he assures us that qualifying for the Olympics is not his end all and he plans to make history for Trinidad and Tobago.
“Just qualifying for the Olympics is not it for me, I want to go there and make history in a different sort of way. The journey has just started for me.” Neither of three aforementioned Olympian boxers has ever won a fight at the Olympics and that appears to be Prince’s starting point as he continues his preparations for Japan.
“Firstly, I’m taking it one fight at a time. I want to get that first fight out of the way and win! As far as statistics go, A Trinbagonian has never won a fight at the Olympics, I would like to first change that.” His Olympic goals though are positively correlated and his second goal depends totally on the first. He must achieve the first goal of winning a match in order to move closer to realising his second - A podium finish.
What even makes him keep going? Sometimes at a certain age in your sporting career the motivation to excel dries up and you wind up participating rather than competing. For Prince, his motivations go very personal as his brother who introduced him to the sport at 14-years old passed away and he just knew he had to make him proud. Even though he felt like giving up at times, he reflected how his lovely wife would always give him the boost he needed to keep things going.
Prince continues to sharpen himself and is working on his weaknesses from early so that he can better prepare for the road ahead. His preparations for the tournament will now see him depart for Guyana then Russia where he’s expected to undergo more tactical and technical work. “My current training program is about ironing out my weaknesses, to get stronger in those areas but when we get to Russia we plan to get heavier in the sparring and you know, the technical and tactical aspect of things. We would get those things (weaknesses) out the way so that they don’t present themselves later down the road.”
While we sometimes dwell mainly on the physical and emotional, the TTDF boxer is also spiritually grounded and suggests that boxing goes deeper than just the physical and emotional for him. “I am a very spiritual person. You need to be physically, mentally and spiritually prepared for the battle ahead.”
The 2021 Olympic Games isn’t the end for veteran though as he intends on being a part of future regional and international tournaments such as the Commonwealth Games, Cac Games, PanAm Games within the next two years. When his boxing career is done and dusted , the humble and ambitious individual plans to step in at the administrative level where he’ll be using his professional skill set to assist the younger ones. “I mean, who doesn’t want to give back? The country has given so much to me so I it’s only fitting to give back.”
Good luck to Aaron Prince at the Olympic Games, make us proud!