Fist fighting dates back at least to the third millennium BC, or so says Wikipedia, as Sumerian relief carvings show two men squaring off. Competition with gloves began in Minoan Crete (c. 1500–900 BC) and in 2012 we still continue to participate and watch the sport of boxing.
We’ve all heard the stories of numerous boxers from Southeast Texas over the last few years. There was Chris Henry (26-2) of Beaumont, who actually fought for world titles then found himself in trouble with the law. Henry has since returned to boxing after a two-year layoff.
Then there’s Quantis Graves (5-0) of Orange, who was a runner-up in the 2008 Olympic Trials and has since turned pro and still trains in Orange alongside Cody Richard (8-0-1).
But there’s a new name on the block — David Thomas.
Born in Orange, the 23-year-old Thomas made his professional debut in the welterweight division on March 22 against Maurice Boston at the beautiful Houston Club in downtown Houston. Thomas made quick work out of his opponent, winning by TKO 48 seconds into the first round.
Thomas, who is also a first cousin to current NFL All-Pro defensive back Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks, moved to Dallas at an early age and returned to Orange his sophomore year and went on to graduate from West Orange-Stark High School in 2007.
Thomas is a single parent of 4-year-old daughter named Shayla. Outside of being a father, he trains Monday through Saturday, 2-3 hours every evening in the boxing gym, and strength and conditioning every morning.
The Examiner caught up with the Thomas via telephone after a training session in Houston.
When did you become interested in boxing?
It was probably when I was 8 or 9 years old. I actually did some boxing for two or three months when I lived in Dallas, but my family took me out because they wanted me to play football and run track, and I did that in junior high then in high school when I moved back to West Orange-Stark. My heart wasn’t in football or track, and I just did it because my family wanted me to.
So when did you start back up?
When I turned 17, I told my grandpa I wanted to get back into boxing, so we looked around for boxing gyms and I found one in Orange. I wanted to better myself so I moved to Houston and started training with Juan Lopez at Lopez Boxing Gym.
Why did you decide to turn pro?
I had an amateur record of 50-6, and my coach wanted me to try out for the Olympic team, so I did that but didn’t make it. So instead of staying amateur and waiting another four years for the Olympic Trials to come around, the time was right.
In your pro debut, what was going through your mind when you heard the bell ring?
I was a little nervous, but I just concentrated on doing what I do in the gym.
What are you biggest strengths in the ring?
I am a very confident person. That along with my power punches.
Why do you love boxing so much?
Even if I won the lottery and didn’t have to work ever again, I would still keep boxing because I just have that much passion for it.
What makes you different than the other boxers from Orange?
That’s a good question. I think I have more willpower than those guys. They don’t look at boxing as life. I look at boxing as this is all I’ve got. I don’t have anything else but this, so I’m more driven, more hungry. This is my dream I am pursuing, and boxing is going to help me have a good life and take care of my daughter.
How did you get the nickname Terminator?
I got it from Noe Beltran, who has helped me train. During one of my amateur fights, the ring announcer asked Noe what my nickname was and he said it was Terminator. I had no idea until I got into the ring and they announced ‘David The Terminator Thomas.’ I looked around and wondered who the announcer was talking about and I said, oh that’s me. It stuck with me. It fits me well. I break fighters down, round by round.
When’s the next fight?
It’s on April 28 in Galveston at the Convention Center. My opponent is Jose Brewer of Kansas.
Chad Cooper can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 241, or by e-mail at cooper [at] theexaminer [dot] com.