Perhaps the passage of time and the dominance of the new generation have clouded our memory of the remarkable pride we felt when these pioneers were the flag bearers of this small country that continues today, to loom large on the international stage, in just about every endeavour to which it commits.
One of these great men and trailblazers was Ruben Percival, known to most in St. Kitts and Nevis and the Caribbean, as “Fighting Hunks”. This Kittitian boxer, from the village of Conaree, built up an impressive record in his career that lasted some 27 years, (1972-1999).
However, the last couple years have not been too kind to Fighting Hunks and today, due to illness, he is confined to a wheel chair and not able to continue his crusade to train and develop new boxers while also attempting to revive, what once was a popular and well supported sport in the country, especially in the 1970s and first half of the 1980s.
But he has many reasons to be thankful and grateful as he recently celebrated his 60th birthday (on Wednesday 15th February), having been born back in 1952.
As an international welterweight fighter, he won 4 fights (KO 1), drew 1 and lost 9 (KO 3).
Many can recall his triumphs back when it was still St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, the political era before independence in 1983. Then, our sporting love affair was with Fighting Hunks, as he demolished one contender after another, whether it was at home in St. Kitts at the Factory Social Centre or Warner Park, (where Netball City is now located), or at venues overseas, including Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles; Guayaquil, Ecuador; and D C Canegata Stadium, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
There are some who have experienced the wrath of the stinging and sometimes knock-out punch of Hunks. Among those who can tell the tale of the agony and pain are Rocky Orengo, (24/8/1979), Earl Liburd, (28/10/1978), Ramon Serrano, (21/1/1977), and Easy Boy Lake, 29/10/1976). All these victories were scored at the Lionel Roberts Stadium, Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Obviously the Virgin Islands was a favourite venue for him, where he received great support from the large Kittitian/Nevisian population resident in that US territory.
But, as is the case with all boxers, Hunks had his losses that included fights with Esteban Pizzarro, (14th March, 1983), Eddie Marcelle, (7th March, 1980), Juan Serrano,(23rd May, 1980), Segundo Murillo, (8th February, 1979), Frankie Romero, (25th January, 1975), Inocensio De La Rosa,(3rd April, 1977, he also drew with him on 10th February, 1977), Domingo Ayala, (14th October, 1977), Luis Resto, (17th December, 1977).
To this day, many in St. Thomas remember the fight against Easy Boy Lake, who was knocked down four times in the last four rounds. Eventually Hunks knocked out Lake to win the fight. At the time, both fighters were the welterweight champions of their territory. However, the 10 round fight had its competitive moments with Lake producing some hard blows to Hunks, forcing him on the defensive at times.
However, by the 7th round Hunks floored him in the closing minute, with a hard right to the chin. After taking a standing eight count, Lake staggered back to his corner at the bell. The beating continued into the eighth and ninth rounds; with Lake again heading to the floor for another knock down, after receiving a powerful right hand to the mid section of the body. Only the bell saved him with the count already reaching nine.
By the tenth round, though Lake had a few short good moments, re ran out of stamina and Hunks used the opportunity to send him some sharp rights and lefts eventually again flooring him; but lake was on his feet again after the fifth count.
However, Lake only came back for more punishment as Hunks delivered another right to the head and with 2 minutes and 45 seconds on the clock, Lake’s corner threw in the towel, surrendering the fight to Hunks and stopping the carnage.
Those were the glorious days of this great Kittitian fighter. Overall, in his long career, Hunks had 65 victories from his 77 fights, (local and international). He lost ten and drew 2. He was the welterweight champion in St. Kitts for nine years, from 1974-1983.
In 1978 he won the Caribbean Championship and held the title until 1980.
It was back in 2008 that his medical problems worsened and the excruciating pain in the back that had been of much bother, finally knocked him to the ropes, landing him in a wheel chair. But as this tough contender has vowed, one day, he intends to walk again. To accomplish this, the former boxer needs the required finances for another operation that he believes can restore his mobility. There are many who are hopeful that this day is soon.
In the meantime, Happy Birthday champion! MiyVue.com joins all fans in wishing you the very best as you celebrate your Diamond Jubilee.