Cesar “Rainman” Francis has come far from his childhood in Panama, but in many ways not much has changed.

The junior middleweight boxer, who made his professional debut in 2017, has been boxing since he was a young child in San Miguelito, Panama.

“The neighborhood guys would have little tournaments,” Francis tells BK Reader. “They would give us little gifts like Mangoes.”

Back in Panama, Francis’ uncle Francisco Guzman was a five-time boxing trainer of the year. He began training Francis at a young age. “My uncle was the first person who got me seriously into boxing.”

Cesar “Rainman” Francis (Left) and Jose Roman (Right) at Barclays Center on October 16th. Photo: Supplied.

When Francis was 8, his family immigrated to the United States, settling in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. “It was cold,” Francis said of his new environment. “I wasn’t used to it. I was very, very close to my grandfather and I didn’t want to leave him, so it was hard.”

Francis had trouble adjusting to life in the United States not knowing how to speak any English and said he was just mad at being in the U.S., which led him to act out.

At 11, Francis’ mother heard that he was bullying other kids. “My mother took me to the gym, she said ‘Oh, you want to be a bully, okay no problem I have somewhere to take you.’”

She arranged for a “good kid” to (safely) give Francis a taste of his own medicine. “I stood in the ring for about five minutes getting my butt whooped,” said Francis. “I’ve been a humble guy ever since.”

Cesar “Rainman” Francis. Photo: Supplied.

The experience not only stopped Francis from becoming a bully, but reignited his interest in boxing. He went to his uncle and asked him to begin training him more seriously.

“At the age of like 13, I got really, really good.” He was given the nickname Lluvia, Spanish for rain. The name was eventually translated into what he goes by today: Rainman.

“They call me rainmain because I didn’t have no defense in the amateurs, I just kept coming.”

That reputation has followed him into professional boxing, where he is currently undefeated.

“Depending on how hard you train, how hard you pushed yourself mentally, physically, it will show in the ring,” said Francis.

Francis attributes his impressive record to his intense dedication. “I’m one of the one of the most dedicated fighters that’s coming out of Brooklyn, New York.”

“I’m just very confident, very determined to get the W [Win]. That means I’m gonna adjust, I’m gonna figure you out and I’m gonna get the win.”

This was certainly the case on October 16, when Francis beat previously undefeated Puerto Rican boxer Jose Roman at what he describes as his biggest fight yet. The event took place at Barclay’s Center and was sponsored by Triller.

Cesar “Rainman” Francis fights Jose Roman at Barclays Center on October 16th. Photo: Supplied.

Francis went into the fight an underdog. “He [Roman] came to win. He was undefeated. He had more experience than me,” Francis said.

“It was amazing to come out and perform for my people and perform for Brooklyn and just come out with the win.”

He said the local boxing community was a tight knit one, adding that although there were a lot of skillful boxers in Brooklyn, “only a few that you have that really, really want to take it to the next level.”

“Panamanian Champion is what I want to be headlined as,” Francis said.

“The biggest Panamanian Champion there ever was.”

As his public profile grows, Francis is just as focused on giving back to his community as he is on reaching his career goals as a boxer, and is hosting a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway on November 16 in Williamsburg.

He is also an ambassador for a nonprofit organization WYP (What’s Your Purpose), which guides young people searching for their purpose in life. He also has plans to author an antibullying children’s book.

“I don’t want to just be known as a boxer. I want to be known as someone that changed the community in Brooklyn,” he said.

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Christopher Edwards

Christopher Edwards is a Brooklyn-based writer and student at Borough of Manhattan Community College

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