Leading Seaman Andre Seymour – Sporting Pioneer/Boxer/Trainer/National Coach
By Petty Officer Monique Deveaux
Leading Seaman Andre George Seymour, a thirty (30) year veteran of The Royal Bahamas Defence Force is the ninth of 10 children born to the late William and Clementina Seymour. He is from Matthew Town, Inagua, also referred to as “Salty City” by the locals. Born on the 22nd August, 1967, Seymour recalls being intrigued by Defence Force vessels that often patrolled the waters where he lived as one of the reasons he joined the force.
He joined the Defence Force on 8th January, 1990 as a member of New Entry 26. A Methodist by religion and a devoted husband and father, he is married to Michelle Seymour, a faithful wife of over twenty-seven years. This union is blessed with two sons, Latherio, and Albrion, 30 and 27 years old respectively. Seymour’s favorite food includes barbecue ribs, any seafood and boiled grouper head. His hobbies are working out, particularly running and sit-ups.
Seymour, the Marine
Upon entering the ranks of the Defence as a Marine Seaman after successfully passing New Entry Training, Seymour was assigned to the Squadron Department, where he served aboard HMBS ANDROS, HMBS EDWARD WILLIAMS and HMBS SAMANA. He also served in essential areas of the force, namely; Supplies, Commando Squadron, Port Security and the Military Police and Force Protection Unit, where he currently serves. During his 30 years, Seymour was also seconded to the Ministry of Youth, Sports, & Culture, where he trained and coached local boxers for international tournaments.
When asked to describe himself in two (2) words, the marine said, “confident” and a “leader”. On the other hand when inquired about how others would describe him in one word, he simply said, “a leader that empowers people”.
During the course of New Entry training, Seymour names Chief Petty Officer Derek Richardson as his favorite instructor. “Richardson was physical and a strong leader, something that I could relate to at the time. He was like a role model for me”, said Seymour.
“Coming into New Entry training as a professional boxer and having the opportunity to attend two Olympics, I got the alias service name “hot shot’! Back then, the Raid Spray was considered one of the strongest insecticide spray for insects.”
Similar to the insecticide, killing its prey with one shot, Seymour’s strength as a boxer was likened to that! He recounts, “One of the highlights of my career thus far is being able to serve my country in the capacity of a Defence Force Marine. Secondly, a highlight has been as a national coach …to serve the country in preparing the next generation of boxers for international tournament like the Commonwealth Games, The Pan American Championship and the Olympic Games.”
Reflecting back on his past, Seymour remembers his most significant accomplishments while serving. As the National Amateur Boxing Coach, Seymour received a 3 Star ‘B’ Coaches Certification. A 3-Star ‘A’ is a certification that goes to coaches who have coached Olympic Medalists. Seymour made history by becoming the first Bahamian to achieve such a feat. The Tribune Newspaper on April 14, 2010 in an article title, “Thrilled by Certification Honour” by Brent Stubbs, stated that Seymour was ‘delighted to be among some of the best coaches in the world’. Seymour is now one of 328 coaches to have accomplished such a distinction’.
When asked who has been the biggest influence in his life, he calmly answered, “The persons who have had the biggest influence on my life thus far would be God, my wife and family. When I think of the significant impact the service has had on my life, I often reminisce over what I have accomplished over the years as a person, coach, trainer and as a marine.”
His words of advice: “As a marine, my advice to those currently serving is to be the best and nothing less is my motto. Lastly, always develop a trade/skill in which one can become proficient.”
Seymour, the boxer/athlete
Seymour’s boxing career begun, when his oldest brother Harold, an amateur boxing light-heavy weight champion brought his gloves home. After practicing with his brother’s Harold gloves, the youngster fell in love with the sport. The 5 foot-1 island boy entered his first competition at age fourteen (14).
Seymour’s success as a local boxer opened doors for him to compete consecutively in two Olympics, 1984 and 1988. In 1984 Olympics, Seymour travelled to Los Angeles, California and competed just shy of his seventeenth birthday. Also, in the 1988 Olympic Games, he was the sole competitor for boxing for The Bahamas in Seoul, Korea.
As a boxer, he expressed sheer confidence. Never considering his size, he would often say, “You can be good even if you are small”. In an article in The Wall Street Journal title, “No Medal for Andre: The Nine-Minute Olympics” on the 2nd August, 1984, showed the seventeen-year-old fighter in his loss to Oppe Pinto of Paraguay. The overly confident Seymour in his first interview after his loss, “Looked at his hands and told the two newspaper reporters who were present that the decision surprised him”. He continued, “I felt I won the first and second rounds”, he mumbled.” Maybe he was better in the third – I don’t know, I thought I was even with him at least”.
The humility and the positive attitude of the island boy caught the attention of those two reporters, who choose to highlight his story in the above mentioned article.
Prior to the World Olympics in 1984, Andre had only lost three times in his twenty-three bouts, an accomplishment that got him to the Olympics. After his loss, Seymour thought it only fitting to enjoy the festive food at the Olympic Village. After all, he had to restrict himself before being weighed-in prior to his fight. On the other hand, other competitors didn’t take their losses well as compared to Andre. The article also stated, “Fighters who have never tasted defeat themselves are very rare. That was true of Seymour”.
Seymour, the trainer/national coach
Coach Seymour has worked extensively with The Bahamas Amateur Boxing Association as The Bahamas National Boxing Coach. As the only qualified Bahamian at the time, he was called upon in the matter of national interest to train and coach local boxers for international competition. Seymour has received recognition from such international bodies such as AIBA International Boxing Association, and the Pan American Association. He has travelled extensively around the world as a coach and a trainer.
One of his profound moments as a coach/trainer was when Carl Heild and Valentino Knowles were among the first two to win bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games of 2010. Added to his accomplishment is the gold medal won by Valentino at the CAC Games in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Under his tutelage, both boxers ranked in their perspective class internationally. It can be said of Seymour that he is a person that will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the athletes are trained and fully prepared for the Olympic Style completion.
National Team Boxer Chronological Events:
1981 started boxing
1984 represented Bahamas in Olympics in Los Angeles
1988 represented Bahamas in Olympics in Seoul, South Korea (won two bout)
1985 Carifta Games Gold, Guadeloupe
1987 Carifta Games Bronze, Guyana
1987 Canadian Cup Bronze
National Team Coach Chronological Events:
1993 Returned to Boxing as Coach
1996 CAC Games (Venezuela)1999 Pan American Games (Canada)
2002 Became a Certified Coach (Havana, Cuba) by Pan American Sports Organization (Diploma)
2003 Second Certification (Mexico City, Continental & Pan American Sports Organization (Diploma)
2003 Commonwealth Championship (Malaysia): Silver Medal
2005 World Championship (China)
2005 – 2011 Independence Cup (Santiago, Dominican Republic: Medal every year (Bronze/Silver)
2007 Pan American Championship Qualifier (Trinidad): Gold Medal
2007 World Championship (Chicago)
2008 Olympic Qualifier (Trinidad): Gold Medal
2008 Olympic Qualifier (Guatemala): Silver Medal
2008 Olympic Games (Beijing, China): Quarter Finals
2008 World Cup (Moscow, Russia)
2009 World Championship (Italy): first bout won by a Bahamian
2009 Third Certification High Level Technical Course of Boxing (Havana, Cuba)
2009 Pan American Olympic Solidarity Boxing Course (Havana, Cuba)
2009 AIBA Road to Milan Training Camp (Assisi, Italy): First ever AIBA Camp
2010 CAC Games (Mayaguez, Puerto Rico): Gold Medal
2010 Commonwealth Games Championship (Delhi, India): Silver Medal
2010 Commonwealth Games Championship (Delhi, India): 2 Bronze Medal
2011 Road to Baku Training Camp (Baku, Azerbaijan)
2011World Games (Baku, Azerbaijan)
2011 Pan American Games (Guadalajara. Mexico): Silver Medal
Andrew ‘Boxer’ Seymour, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force appreciates your services to your country and by extension, the organization.
Photo shows: Seventeen-year-old Andre Seymour at the 1984 Olympics after losing to Oppe Pinto of Paraguay.