by Gautham Nagesh
Junior middleweight prospect Omar Henry passed away Friday in Chicago from gall bladder cancer. He was 25.
Born in Chicago and raised in Houston, Henry was a decorated amateur with a promising future in the 154-lb weight class. Henry boasted a record of 12-0-1 with 9 KOs and was slated to be the headliner on ShoBox last November, when his illness was first discovered. He posted a message to his Facebook account on January 9th expressing his hope that he would live to see his 26th birthday on February 8th.
“To all my friends and loyal fans I want to inform you all that I am fighting the fight of my life against a disease known as gallbladder cancer,” Henry posted to Facebook on Sunday. “While I’m in this current state I am fighting with my family by my side and I will not go down for the count.”
We first encountered Henry last summer, when he demolished Chris Tyler in just under one round on the undercard of Devon Alexander-Lucas Matthysse in St. Louis. I was suitably impressed:
Perhaps the most scintillating action of the night came in a four-round junior middleweight swing bout featuring Omar “Oh!” Henry flattening local boy Chris Tyler with 5 seconds left in the 1st round. Henry scored two early knockdowns that left Tyler stumbling around the ring. The only offense the St. Louis native offered was to tackle Henry by the ankles as he fell to the floor, drawing a cascade of boos from his hometown crowd. A third knockdown from a vicious left hook forced Tyler to point to his head and the ref to wave the fight off.
Henry’s tragic death will come as a blow to the entire boxing community, but especially Puerto Rican fans, for whom he represented one of the brightest hopes for the future. His family asked Friday that fans keep Omar’s name in mind as a small tribute to his immense and unfulfilled potential. We will certainly do our best. Rest In Peace.
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