2002-04-13 / Sports

Posey Continues Climb to the Boxing Summit

By Elio Velez

By Elio Velez

In interviewing boxing welterweight hopeful Rohnique Posey, the energy permeated when he spoke. As he talked, the flurry of words that came from him was just like a flurry of punches thrown in the ring.

Posey, a 24 year old resident of Beach 67th Street in Rockaway, did not enter the fight game easily. "I was 13 years old and I was a wild child," remembered Posey. When he went home, Posey knew that his grandmother would be there to discipline him when he caused trouble. Knowing that he wanted to find a way out of getting into trouble, he looked into boxing. As he was always interested in boxing, Rohnique told his father, Reverend Irving Posey of the New Jerusalem Church in Far Rockaway, of his interest. Rohnique was surprised of his father’s reaction. "He told me that if he knew I was interested in boxing in earlier, he would have enrolled me in an program already."

At first training in a boxing gym in Flushing, Posey wasn’t satisfied with the place until he read a magazine with a Gleasons Gym ad. The famous gym, then in Manhattan and now Brooklyn, is the place where many famous fighters throughout the years have trained, caught Posey’s eye. "The atmosphere at Gleasons Gym gave me a rush," said Posey. He then knew it was the gym to go to.

It was the start of a long and laborious process for Posey, which mixed boxing with attending school at the same time. Posey knew it would be very hard to maintain boxing in Manhattan and go to school at Beach Channel. "I would go to school from 8 a.m to 2 p.m. and have to travel to Manhattan and train from 3:30-6:00 p.m. I did that for all of high school."

Rohnique started at Gleasons with trainer Bob Jackson and entered the Golden Gloves in 1996. As he vaulted to the finals in the welterweight division, Posey broke his hand two days before the fight. He could not get back to compete in the finals as he lost in the semifinals in 1997 and 1998. At that point, Posey’s trainer Bob Jackson urged him to go turn pro.

Posey turned pro and was going to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut to fight George Best, who was regarded as mainly a puncher. At the time he was training for his first fight, Posey received an interesting offer. "I was offered a chance to be in a painting". Posey said. Patricia Watwood, an artist, created a painting called "The Boxer" with Posey as the inspiration and model for the painting.

Best was defeated by Posey in the first round by KO. Posey won his next three fights until he faced a tough challenge on a Hasim Rahman undercard match. Fighting against Cebien St. Pierre, Posey received his first knockdown. "It was tough to get my first knockdown but I got up." He then won the fight with a 4th round TKO to up his record to 4-0.

The problem that Posey admits freely is his unfortunate tendency to get injured. Posey not only broke his hand during the Golden Gloves, but an increasing number of hand injuries have taken its toll. Posey said, "I had to take 2 years off from hand injuries." Posey also added "Also having a hernia condition and getting treatment for that put me behind in training."

After recovering from his injuries, Posey’s trainer Bob Jackson thought of an idea for the next fight. Looking for an opponent, Jackson went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In scheduling the fight, Jackson paid junior middleweight Willis Silver to fight his boxer. It was meant as a challenge to his boxer to get it going.

Posey remembered, "People thought I was washed up because I haven’t fought in a while. I wanted to prove to people that I could still fight."

In an important fight, Posey pulled off the win by dominating Silver from the get-go. Posey floored Silver with a left in the second round. In the third, Posey used quick combinations to drop Silver twice in the third round before the ref stopped the bout.

Now at 6-0, the 5’6, 139 pound fighter is training hard and plotting his next moves up the boxing ladder. Posey likes the words of encouragement he receives from fighters such as Posey’s stablemate from Gleasons, heavyweight contender Oleg Maskaev and former middleweight champion Zab Judah.

It does seem as Posey’s talent runs through the family. Posey’s brother, Dante Griffin, started a record company called Dead Broke Records. "Through my boxing, I want to help my brother as much as possible." Posey remarked.

Posey’s next fight will be on April 26th at Cipriani on 42nd Street at 7:30 p.m. Posey does not know who his opponent would be but he is very optimistic on his future. Poseys grins as he said, "In 5 years, I expect to be in the top 10 and win a world title."

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