Trainer Joseph Awinonya, and The Dreams of The African Assassin
By Robert Brizel, Real Combat Media Correspondent
New York, NY (December 17, 2012)– Dreams are why we keep fighting, dreams are why we keep believing…from the 2011 cable television movie ‘Dreams’ co-starring Joseph Awinonya.
Awinonya can be seen from 2:08 to 2:30 in the trailer clip from the movie Dreams
Born in Ghana in 1974, cruiserweight boxer Joseph Awinonya, known by his nickname ‘The African Assassin’, he fought his first nine professional bouts in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands from 1994 to 1997, before continuing his boxing career in the United States after a 20 months layoff. Fighting in Florida, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina, Washington, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Awinonya was undefeated in eight consecutive bouts between 1999 to 2002. The turning point in Awinonya’s career occurred on July 27, 2007, at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, when he lost a disputed eight round decision to rising 11-0 cruiserweight prospect Steve Cunningham, which Joseph Awinonya still feels he won.
In his next bout on January 31, 2003, Awinonya won by second round disqualification over Franklin Edmundson in West Palm Beach Florida, after Edmundson got disqualified for intentional head butting and low blows. Despite the win, Awinonya’s career hit a downward spiral from that point, winning only one of his last seven bouts. After a seventh round stoppage loss to Troy Beets in Tacoma, Washington, in 2005, Awinonya retired from prizefighting from a record of 12-9-5 to become a top notch trainer today.
Awinonya today is the trainer of middleweight contender and compatriot Osumanu Adama of Ghana. Awinonya’s Will County Boxing Gym in Joliet, Illinois (online at willcountyboxing.com) is a feeder gym for prospects from Ghana and other African countries, who wish to move to the United States and continue their careers successfully rather than become just another journeyman. African fighters are often used and abused by other fighters to get a win. Besides Osumanu Adama, fighters who have worked with Awinonya include Albert Mensah, Mike Mollo, and Lante Addy. Awinonya appeared in the 2011 cable movie ‘Dreams’, filmed partially in his Joliet gym.
Real Combat Media: “Why does you enjoy being a boxing trainer?”
Joseph Awinonya: “That’s the way I was created. I am boxing trainer. I’m creating my own empire for the African fighters so they can get a fair shake of fighting in the United States and do my own promotion over here. The way fight manager Wasfi Tolaymat of Chicago is doing things, he gives African fighters the chance to move them and fight for a ranking and a world title. Most African fighters are used as opponents to push someone else to the top. People have to be fair. African people don’t watch television here enough, so we have to do boxing shows that are of interest to African people over here in the United States and in Africa. African people in Africa watch boxing. Over here we need sponsors to who work in Africa and trade in Africa to sponsor our African fighters in America, because they have a name in America.”
Real Combat Media: “Which of your fighters has the best chance to be world champion?”
Joseph Awinonya: “My fighter Osumanu Adama he has the best chance to win a world title and go to the top. He will fight here, Africa, wherever he gets a chance.
Real Combat Media: “Do you miss your cruiserweight fighting days?”
Joseph Awinonya: “There comes a time when you have to change your pattern and let it go. Yeah, I enjoyed fighting. I was treated great. Don King gave me a chance to come to this country and I signed with him. I came to Chicago as a fighter. I came to Chicago to train for a fight with ex-IBF champion Vassily Jirov after he lost his title to James Toney, and I ended up staying right here in Joliet and I became a trainer.”
Real Combat Media: “Chicago is a tough town. Tell about your boxing work in your gym with street kids.”
Joseph Awinonya: “There are a lot of kids over here (in Joliet) who need discipline. Boxing gives them discipline, and helps them to pay attention to do better in school. I have gym kids who went to juvenile school, but now they get As and Bs in school and they don’t get in trouble anymore. I grew up to be somebody who can guide people today. Boxing guided me to be in this country today, so I know how boxing can guide people. I have a lot of kids I talk to who have problems, and I know what you can say to them. If you have a lot of energy, you can use their speech to talk to them. Boxing helped me, and I’m using what I’ve learned to help these kids.”
Real Combat Media: “Tell about your partnership and relationship with manager Wasfi Tolaymat and promoter Cynthia Tolaymat of Chicago Fight Promotion?”
I was happy to meet and work with Wasfi Tolaymat and his wife Cynthia Tolaymat, and I think Cynthia Tolaymat is on her way to becoming the best promoter.”
Like the cable television movie ‘Dreams’ in which he appears, Joseph Awinonya always dreams. He did not realize his dream of becoming a world cruiserweight champion, but he instills discipline and character his boxing has taught to every soul he enters his gym. Awinonya dreams the fighters he teaches in his gym will one day become world champions. for what would a man have left if you took away his dreams? The African Assassin dreams of a better life for the African people through boxing. He is a champion role model to the kids of Joliet he talks to, and street youth on whom he imparts his boxing skills and philosophies of life.
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