MADE IN AFRICA
Hino Ehikhamenor was born in Benin City, Nigeria in West Africa. He is the sixth of seven children to proud parents Eni and Magaret Ehikhamenor. Both of Hino’s parents worked as professionals in Nigeria which allowed them to provide a comfortable and above average lifestyle for their family. Despite such luxuries, Hino’s mother decided to move her family overseas to the United States, specifically New York City, where she felt her children would be presented with more opportunities and a better education than their homeland could provide.
At the age of 12, Hino was enrolled in I.S. 61 in Lefrak City, Queens where he continued his education until he graduated from John Bowne High School in 1998. While most find it difficult to adapt to such a major change, Hino settled into his new life with ease. It was like he was a sponge ready to soak up all he could learn from this new and unexplored American culture. For Hino this meant learning to walk, talk, and dress like a native New Yorker. Hino exhibited natural athletic ability, and excelled at any sport in which he played, winning numerous accolades over the years. He also quickly learned participation in sports was the easiest way to make friends. During his high school career, Hino would play basketball, soccer, and football, yet none would play such a major role in his life as boxing. Boxing quickly became a way of life for Hino, and all his hard work and determination did not go unnoticed. Hino received many awards and trophies, most notably the New Jersey Golden Gloves. This achievement led him to compete on the USA Boxing Team from 1998-2000. He fought and won his last amateur fight in the summer of 2001, thus proving he needed to take his career a step further and turn professional.
Despite his love for boxing, Hino had other dreams and aspirations that subsequently stole his attention and focus from the sport. While exploring new opportunities in the entertainment field, Hino began modeling and acting, both of which proved successful. Hino appeared in several magazine ads and fashion shows, and even a few commercials. However, he didn’t stop there. In 2003, Hino became one of NYC’s top party promoters. He used his charisma and engaging persona to launch a notable series of monthly parties called ‘First Fridays NYC”. Of note, Hino hosted a fashion show, of which all of the proceeds were donated to children in Africa living with AIDS. Hino loves kids and wanted to find a way to give back to children who were less fortunate. He devoted time to coaching a little league soccer team in Queens NY, the “LBH Kickers”, leading them to a remarkable undefeated championship season.
DON’T CALL IT A COME BACK!
After a long break, Hino returned to the sport that he’d loved so much and enrolled at the Elmcor Boxing Gym with his old trainer John Davenport. “It was like he’d never left,” Davenport said. Hino knew he had to put all his focus into boxing and after a few months of hard core training, John felt Hino was ready to return to the ring. John and Hino began to search for a manager that could take Hino’s career to new heights. Finally, Roger Levitt had decided to take Hino on as a client and with Jay-Z as his financial backer, it seemed that things could only get better. Hino had his first professional fight in February 2004, a 1st round K.O and he continued to fight every month for quite some time.
The boxing world was impressed with the new kid on the block. Sports writers flocked to interview him. They noted his strengths; extensive amateur experience, the ability to sit down on punches, a powerful left hook, and great hand speed. In 2005, Hino was 12-1 in his professional career. His first loss came from a 10 round championship fight that some argued was a bad decision. Hino never disagreed with the decision; he believed his opponent won fair and square and knew a loss was inevitable, and was glad it came early in his career. After the loss, Hino decided to take some time off from boxing which ended up being a 2 year hiatus, Hino returned to training with new boxing coach, Colin Morgan, at Trinity Boxing Club in Lower Manhattan. In his first trip back to the ring in February 2008, he scored a 2nd round KO win over Zack Page. Subsequently, in May 2008, he experienced a controversial 12 round decision loss to Herbie Hide (46-4-42 k.o’s) for the WBC Cruiserweight Title in Spain.
THE CONTENDER SEASON 4
In late summer 2008, Hino was invited to be a participant in the elite competition of 16 cruiserweights chosen from all over the world. The tournament took place in Singapore, with the episodes being aired over 11 weeks starting in early December leading to a live finale. Hino arrived to the tournament a relative unknown, finding himself in the company of such notable fighters as Rico Hoye, formerly ranked #1 by the IBF, Darnell “Ding-a-Ling Man” Wilson, a devastating knock out artist, and Felix Cora, Jr., who held USBA and NABF cruiserweight titles.
The fighters were separated into two teams, Gold Team and Blue Team, with Hino on the former. Through the early weeks of the show, Hino flew below the radar, developing an image of likeable character who was a bit of a jokester with little insight to his skills as a boxer. In Week 3, Ryan Coyne donned a headband with Hino’s name on it, effectively calling him out as the opponent for the next fight. Ryan noted that Hino “didn’t rely on his right hand much” and would be an easier match given the cut on Ryan’s left eye.
In Week 5, after the Gold Team had won 2 consecutive victories, Hino stepped up as ready to fight. He spoke of his choices being the less-experienced Ryan Coyne, who had called him out and is still nursing a cut, or Darnell Wilson, the most feared fighter in the group and a favorite to win the entire competition. Wilson, however, had been struggling to make weight since the beginning of the tournament. Wilson threatened that anyone he fought would get knocked out. At the call out, Hino surprisingly picked Wilson, saying “I decided that me and Darnell would be a better fight.” In the 5-round bout, Hino showed great skill, most notably a strong jab, great defense, speed, and evasive techniques, as well as a powerful right hand. After a solid, mostly one-sided bout, Hino won by unanimous decision, including a first-round knockdown.
In Week 10, Hino faced his former teammate Deon Elam in the quarterfinals. Elam entered the ring as an undefeated fighter, and the battle came down to who had the stronger desire to win that night. Hino mostly used his jab to outbox Elam and win the first three rounds. In the fourth round, Hino caught trouble from a right hand from Elam, but quickly recovered and countered his way out of what could have been a bad situation. Hino went on to outwork Elam in the final round, and won by unanimous decision.
Week 11 brought a semifinal bout against Rico Hoye, an experienced title contender, as the last step before the Contender Championship. Before the bell, it seemed like a lopsided match up, with Rico enjoying a 5 inch height advantage and a 22-2 record with 15 wins by KO. However, Hino was able to find his game quickly. Rico seemed unable to pull the trigger, and Hino was often able to beat him to the punch. Hino also worked well around Rico’s jab, putting together solid combinations including several right hands and well landed left hooks. Hino again won by unanimous decision, moving on to the final bout against Troy Ross for the title of Contender Champion.
On February 25, 2009, the live finale of Contender Season 4 took place at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Connecticut. Troy Ross came to the finale after 3 tournament wins, with 2 by knockout over Lawrence Tuasa and Felix Cora, Jr. Both fighters had months to train for this matchup after the wrap of shooting in Singapore, hence the anticipation in the arena was tangible. In the first round, Troy and Hino both seemed to feel each other out with very few punches being landed. The second round brought more action, with Hino having an advantage, which continued into the third round. In the fourth round, the fight was stopped and Troy Ross became Contender Champion.
In his post-fight interview, Hino graciously thanked his family, friends and supporters. Look for him in the ring or on a TV screen soon!