Sebring's Jamal Henfield was all set for his June 15 fight in Clearwater. So was his opponent-at least until he got a look at Henfield, who stands an imposing 6-foot-6 and weighs 230 pounds.
When Henfield and trainer Troy Carter returned to the ring from lunch, they found out his opponent elected to fight somebody else.
"A lot of people see his size and think he can really hurt them," Carter said.
Carter and Henfield are hoping for better results in Bradenton on June 29 and Tallahassee on July 13, when his next two matches are scheduled.
But what Henfield-and Carter-really want-is to be able to put on a boxing card in Sebring.
"It would mean a lot to me to be able to fight in front of my friends and family," Henfield said. "Plus, I bleed blue."
Henfield graduated from Sebring High School and now works at the Avon Park Youth Academy, where his work in the ring hasn't gone unnoticed.
"I have quite a few of them wanting to know how to get started in boxing," Henfield said.
Carter is looking to get a permit to hold a sanctioned card at the June 29 fight and was hopeful that would lead to matches in Sebring.
"I would love for it to be in August," Carter said.
Carter had originally wanted Henfield to compete for a spot on the 2016 Olympic team, but said it will be too difficult to achieve financially, so the duo will be looking to turn pro in the near future.
"A lot of your best fighters never get the chance to represent their country in the Olympics," Carter said. "It's just financially too hard."
Carter said you can't really put a date on turning pro, but you will know when the time is right.
"We'll know by the class of the opponent," he said. "There are certain things you look for."
Carter believes a strong showing in front of the home fans would be the best thing that could possibly happen for Henfield and could open up other doors.
"We need to dominate where people look at him and say 'He looks great,' " Carter said. "True boxing fans will want to see him fight again and maybe we can pick up some sponsors who want to be involved."
Henfield was won four fights in a row, but isn't about to slow down-he trains for several hours a day at Battleheart Fitness Center in Wauchula-and believes the best things are yet to come.
"I know I can be better," Henfield said. "I want to improve my endurance, conditioning and technique."
Anybody interested in becoming a boxer can reach Carter at 863-448-7302.