Horse Racing

TSETSI 'LIGHTS OUT' DAVIS: Mixing the unlikely elements of boxing and horse racing

One of only six farriers at Caymanas Park

BY RUDDY ALLEN
Observer staff reporter

Friday, October 13, 2017



Many have seen his face in the boxing ring, but Tsetsi “Lights Out” Davis admits that the racetrack is where his true passion lies.

Apart from being a boxer, he is also a licensed farrier (blacksmith) with more than 20 years' experience under his belt. For the uninitiated, farriers are specialists in equine hoof care, including the trimming and balancing of horses' hooves, and attaching shoes to their hooves to protect them from wear and tear.

In an interview with The Supreme Racing Guide, Davis said he was introduced to horse racing by an acquaintance of his.

“When I left Kingston and came to Spanish Town, St Catherine, which is like over 20 years ago, I met someone called Devon who introduced me to the sport. It helped that both my brother and mother loved horse racing as well.

“Every day I used to go to the Rio Cobre to catch fish, and that was when Devon said that I should come and learn a trade with him. I used to be in the furniture business, but it was not going anywhere and so I decided to give Devon's offer a try.

“I asked him what trade he was talking about and he told me that it was shoeing horses. It sounded interesting and so I thought I would give it a try.

“Then one Sunday, instead of going to the river, I went with Devon to a farm in Bog Walk . It was the first time in my life I had ever seen a horse. I grew up in the country where I had seen donkeys and mules, but I had never seen a horse before.

“And from there it all began. I watched as Devon took up the horse's front hoof and pulled off the shoe. The owner, Miss Betty, called him, and when he was gone I took it upon myself to remove the shoe from the horse's other front hoof. When Devon came back and asked who took off the shoe, I told him it was me.

“He then showed me how to put the shoe back on, and I watched him very carefully. He squeezed down the nail on the shoe (he called that the clinch). When Miss Betty called him again, I put on the other shoe by myself.

“From there I began to get into the groove of things and Devon saw that I could manage by myself. I moved from Devon and went to Garfield and learned some more, then I ended up going to Caymanas Park.

“I worked with Garfield for some time until I went to Kennedy, who at the time was the number one blacksmith at Caymanas Park. He used to shoe horses for the big trainers like Anthony 'Baba Nunes, Wayne DaCosta, and Philip Feanny. So I tried to learn as much as I could and tried to do my best every time.

“Now we have this guy called Craig Thompson — maybe the number one right now, although you're not going to put anyone ahead of yourself, but you have to give Thompson his props. I can do my thing, as all of us work together as one. I do the best I can,” Davis stated.

He added: “I am at Caymanas Park from 1991 and until now I am shoeing horses. It has been an on-and-off situation for me, but right now it is much better for me as I am getting the work. The trainers are seeing that I can manage and so are giving me the work.”

While he is also a professional boxer, Davis admits that boxing comes second to his love for horses.

“Well, I am earning off the two [occupations], but horse racing is a daily work while boxing is a one-off thing. From the Wray & Nephew Contender series finished earlier this year, no one has called me or anything, no one has put on a show, but horse racing is [constant and depends on the skill of the farrier].

“You can shoe horses every month — those are horses on the farm or polo horses. but for racehorses, we have to shoe them every two to three weeks.

“I would like to bring boxing into the racing industry. My good friend Andrew Azar ran a race in my name — the Tsetsi 'Lights Out' Davis race. Feanny won the race and I felt so good and on the last Superstakes Day we put on a little boxing thing at Caymanas Park. Right now we need to do some more of that.

“Supreme Ventures Limited is the new owner and I would like to talk to the manager about this little idea that I have. Some Thursday or Friday nights we could put on a little show because this is my home town – Caymanas Park is my yard.

“There are so many people who love me at Caymanas Park. When you are at Caymanas Park you feel at home. Who don't know you don't born yet. I love racing,” Davis said.

Known as the 'Assassin' in the ring, Davis shared some of his boxing history.

“Many people think that it's only the Wray & Nephew Contender series I took part in, but I am in boxing from 1996, with my first fight in 1997. I represented my country 13 times.

“You can say that boxing is an [innate] thing for me: it was like I was born to do it. I grew up in an environment where you had to fight. Every day you had to fight.

“Plus, there were people in the community who teased me. There was this elderly man who used to catch me and whenever he let me go, I used to just curse some bad words at him and thing. Whenever my mother beat me, I would wrap my hands and punch the banana trees because I didn't have anyone to hit back.

“I always used to watch boxers on television like Mike McCallum and Muhammad Ali, and I used to read about them in news stories. I always wanted to be like them.

“I remember one day when I was at school and we were giving our opinions about boxing, my friend Sherlock Blackwood and I took off our shirts, wrapped them around our hands, and we started to box. I ended up punching out two of his teeth, and from then I always fancied myself as a boxer.”

It has been a long, arduous road for Tsetsi Davis. Will his “little idea” to bring boxing into the racing industry find favour with Supreme Ventures Limited? Only time will tell, but for sure he is always working hard to blend his life as a boxer a farrier.

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