So how many boys did you beat up when you were young before you realised boxing was your calling?
I was seven years old. I was pushed into it by my friend. He was 14 and already getting started in boxing. He called me in for a sparring. I was scared but I ended up knocking the guy out despite the fact that he had been boxing for two or three years. I ran away. After a few days they called me in and I thought I was in trouble, but it turned out they wanted me to spar again and I knocked both boys out. They gave me an orange for my first win.
What career did you want before you got into boxing?
I wanted to be a businessman. In fact, I still plan to when I eventually hang up my boxing gloves. I would love to have my own gym and train fighters. There’s a lot of little Harry Simons running around in Namibia, particularly in the Coast.
What would you say has been the highlight of your career so far?
When I fought Winky Wright in 1998.
What do you get up to when you need to relax?
I watch a lot of movies. And every week I re-watch my fights and amaze myself like ‘Is it really possible that a boy who was abandoned by his father at just three months could be this good?’ The first time I saw my father was after the first time I became a champion, you know.
There was a rumour floating around some time ago that at your prime you would tear dollar notes in the streets?
[Laughs.] No, not at all. I don’t do such things. Those are just lies people were spreading about me.
As a professional boxer, how much do you have to hold back when you get into an altercation outside the ring?
As you grow, you become mature. I used to have a very short temper and it wouldn’t go well for anyone that got in a fight with me. But as I grew up I have learned to control my anger, this didn’t happen until I went to prison.
Let’s talk about that for a bit. The accident that you had in 2002, how did it affect you as a person?
It destroyed me as a human being. I don’t like to talk about it, and it is not a period of my life I like to think about, but I had sleepless nights. I hated myself, and even contemplated suicide. I don’t wish that any person go through what I went through emotionally during that time.
Have you overcome it?
I think so.
I remember telling myself, if my life goes on like this, then there is no God. I didn’t pray for six months. But in time, some pastors came and prayed for me. I believe in God and I thank him that I am a changed man.
Would you then say that you’ve taken away any lessons from your time in prison?
Yes. The biggest one being never to speed. I know people said that I was drinking and driving but that is not true.
Is there a boxer in Namibia who you’d say is at the level you were during your prime?
Honestly, I don’t want to compare, but I started boxing professionally in 1993 and have achieved great success since, it is not easy to achieve my feats. And it’s funny. I hear people raving about Floyd Mayweather being undefeated for about 16 years, while they have someone in their own country who hasn’t been defeated in 20 years. I wish I was white, then perhaps I would have gotten better recognition.
Do you see any potential in local boxers?
Of course. Joseph Smokey Elungwa. It is a pity that he is in a low class division but I think he is still undefeated. I think he’s a great fighter who has heart.
How’s your relationship with Tobias Nestor now?
People have said their own things but me and Nestor are fine. We never had a fight. We meet for a cup of coffee at the restaurant. Some people just use my name to make a name for themselves.
It felt like you two were a lot closer at one point though, what happened?
Nothing has happened. He used to go to my fights and he still does that now. He supports me and I support him. He’s currently the biggest boxing promoter and trainer in the country and in the future, I want to be the biggest promoter and trainer around as well.
Are you trying to recapture your old form during prime or do you feel like that time is gone?
I don’t have anything left to prove. I have done it all. I have a few fights left in me. I’m the best fighter that has ever lived in this country. Even the unborn babies will know my name.
Why is there such a big gap between your fights these days?
I injured my arm during last fight, a fight I completed with an injured arm. I have been getting therapy and it’s better now. That is what has delayed things.
Do you have a relationship with any local boxers?
Yes. I’m friends with Shihepo. I escorted him to the ring in his last fight in South Africa. I’m friends with a lot local boxers. The only advice I would give them is that when they fight abroad they must win convincingly as I used to. You can’t fight abroad and just try to come close.
Tyson Uushona wants to fight Manny Pacquiao, but Pacquiao has not even responded. Do you think this fight will ever materialise?
Honestly speaking, Tyson is a good fighter, and I just recently found out that me and him are related, but Pacquiao is another class. But like they say, never say never.
Do you have any phobias?
Yes, I’m just a human being like others. I am afraid of the dark. I don’t sleep alone in the dark.
When are you planning on settling down?
Very soon. I have a fiancé so, I’m at the top of my game. [laughs.]
How would you like to be remembered?
When it comes to my career, I worked hard to be the best fighter in Namibia.; the greatest fighter ever in Namibia, undefeated in 20 years. A day will come when someone will break my record, but that day hasn’t come yet so I enjoy my moment. Even if people don’t give me the respect I deserve. But I am proud of myself and my achievements, perhaps when I am dead one day, more people in the country will.