INDIANAPOLIS — The call came around 1 a.m. for boxing promoter Murad Muhammad, a former body guard of Muhammad Ali who found and promoted Manny Pacquaio. He was awakened by a call from his cousin, a boxing scout. With one statement he had Muhammad’s full, undivided attention.
“I’ve found Muhammad Ali.”
His cousin was referring to Indianapolis native Anthony Sims Jr.
After many conversations with Sims’ mother, Tohana Sims-Capler, and meetings with both her and Anthony, Muhammad signed Sims to a professional boxing contract in front of more than 50 friends and family Saturday night at the Indiana Urban League.
Sims turned 18 on Feb. 23, officially becoming eligible to pursue a career as a pro boxer.
When Anthony was just 6, his father, Anthony Sims Sr., was killed in a car accident. Sims Sr. was an alternate on the 1980 U.S. Olympic boxing team but due to the U.S. boycott on the USSR, he never made it to the Moscow games. Most of Jr.’s motivation is channeled from the memory of his father. He not only fights, but lives in honor of his father and that quality comes from the rock solid foundation that is his mother.
“At that time, my mother came to me and told me I could make two decisions,” Sims said. “I can either let my father’s death ruin my life or I can make it into something positive.”
To say he made such a tragic event into something positive is a monumental understatement. Sims started out wrestling and doing karate, but the move to boxing just made sense.
“I started off wrestling but I used to get angry when they would get on top of me so I would punch them in the face,” Sims said. “I did karate and it was the same. I would end up punching them in the face, so I started boxing.”