Cassius Clay – Barbados Boxing Champion
Cassius Clay is a spectacular entertainer at Harbour Lights who you can see eating fire in front of your eyes.
This man is tough for a reason – his life has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs; for instance, at one point he found himself homeless sleeping on the streets! Despite this Cassius is possibly one of the kindest, positive men I have ever met.
Cassius Clay was born in 1945 and started life living with his mother and three siblings, all fathered by different men. When Cassius was growing up he was naughty – he describes himself as a ‘wild boy’.
His mother was not able to discipline him and sent him to his father. His father did not discipline him either and he spent all day hanging around the rum shops and the dockyard – he did not go to school. Then after his father died of rum and poverty, Cassius was left to live on the streets.
“I found myself sleeping in stairwells, warehouses and sheds.”
Cassius survived the streets of Barbados by eating the fruit that was thrown out of the cargo from the dockyard, and fetching water for the men at the dock to earn a few cents. He was just ten years old. He had to fight with other street urchins to stay alive and he learnt how to be strong.
Eventually Cassius was found by a policeman and sent to the Government Reformatory school and became a beneficiary of the state. Cassius was in his element there. For the first time he was part of a family who taught him, cared for him and showed him discipline.
“I never broke the rules, and learnt so much such as farming and tailoring. Superintendent Kenneth Simmons became like a father to me. He gave me hope that I could be somebody.”
After Cassius left the school he worked there as a monitor, and then he went to sea. When he returned he was ready – ready to start becoming something great.
Cassius started boxing – and he was really, really good.
“Boxing was a great sport for me as you did not need expensive equipment and it was disciplined.”
Cassius loved the routine that boxing brought to his life and he went on to win 111 fights. Eventually he was asked to fight internationally in Canada! It was this success that gave Cassius his nick name, Cassius Clay, which is Muhammad Ali’s birth name. Cassius’s real name is Winston Carlisle Yearwood.
Whilst boxing Cassius learnt to use his strength to perform amazing stunts for money. He can balance a bicycle on his chin, swallow fire, and carry a ladder on his teeth! Today Cassius continues to dazzle visitors to Barbados from all over the world at one of Barbados’ most popular nightclubs – Harbour Lights.
Cassius’ advice to the others is to:
“Hold on to your hope. It doesn’t matter how little you have or where you come from there will be a place for you. To find it you have to be disciplined and strong.”
Cassius sponsors annual Christmas parties for needy children where he entertains and dazzles the children with his amazing stunts. He is able to inspire disadvantaged children and show them that success is possible no matter what.
Author: Brett Callaghan