Heart of a Lion

Local Boxer Husam “Lionheart” Almashhadi’s fearless Nature, Gloves On and Off

Five fights, five knockouts, and zero doubts about the man behind it all.  Professional Boxer Husam “Lionheart” Almashhadi is one of Dearborn’s finest fighters, yet stands out for his courageous and brave mentality.

Husam was born in Dearborn, Michigan, and was raised in Dearborn Heights, Michigan while his parents and his two older brothers were born and raised in Iraq before moving to the U.S. Being a part of an immigrant family, Husam found motivation through his circumstances.

“We didn’t always have everything that we wanted,” Husam said. “Just being a young kid, seeing all the other kids I grew up around, my community having this, having that; me not having it just made me hungry.”

Husam found a way to use this hunger when he discovered an interest for boxing when he was six years old while watching his brothers practicing at a local gym.

“Just watching them, and running around, and doing all their training and fitness, I just loved it,” Husam said. “I was always a hyper kid, so I slowly and slowly started gravitating towards it, and eventually I told my dad, ‘I want to do this for real.’”

Husam earned his nickname “Lionheart,” at the Kronk boxing gym in Westland, Michigan when he was just eight years old. Husam tells stories of older kids from other gyms that would come looking to spar kids from their gym. While the older kids backed down, Husam would step up to challenge, sparring with fighters much older and stronger than him. 

“You know, me being a young, hungry, bad kid, I was like ‘I’ll get in the ring with them,” he said. “I’m not afraid to spar this person, I’m not afraid to spar that person.’ So I’d just sit there and go toe-to-toe, and just throw punch after punch, not worrying about getting hit.”

After deciding to seriously pursue boxing, Husam started his training with Majid Faradi, a close family friend, until Faradi moved away when Husam was 13 years old. Taking a break from boxing for a couple months, Husam later joined forces with coach Mohamed Hamood of Darkside Boxing out of Hype Athletics in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.

“Let me just put it this way, he’s a coach’s dream,” Hamood said. “Any coach would love to have this kid, whatever you ask him to do, he’ll do it to 110 percent.”

Hamood has coached many boxers in his career, but Husam sets himself apart from most.

“At this point, yes, he is the most talented, and best fighter we got in the gym right now,” Hamood said.  “I guess you could say I’m a father figure towards him. Most of my fighters, I feel like a father or an older brother, and most of these fighters I’ve raised since they were eight or nine years old.”

Anybody can see it through the crowd roaring at his fights, it’s obvious with the fans waving the Iraqi flag in support, Husam has irreversibly captured the attention and love of the community.

“It’s great, I love where I’m from, and I’ll always appreciate where I’m from,” Husam said. “Man, the support that comes from Dearborn Heights and Dearborn, you know, they all come together as one, and it’s just unmatched.”

Husam is confident about his future with Darkside as well, having unwavering support for his team.

“Darkside is taking a big step in a new direction,” Husam said. “It’s like we got everybody in there. Everybody’s working hard. I feel like everybody is feeding off my energy, which, I love it. I love being the leader and being the guy that motivates everybody. It motivates me at the end of the day to keep pushing because I know all these guys have someone to look up to.”

Going professional in anything can come with challenges, but Husam has been able to recenter himself with help from his unit.

“You know, there’s moments during training camp, where you feel like you’re just worn out, burnt out,” Husam said. “But I have the right team behind me to help take a few steps back, to just relax and look at things differently, and I always come back harder.”

Despite the success, Husam hasn’t forgotten how it felt to start and understands the initial intimidation that comes with entering a combat sport. 

“Honestly, you won’t really know it’s for you until you give it about 4 to 5 months,” he said.  “You’ll know after you’ve had your first sparring session, you’ll know by the team your around, so just hang in there and give it about 4 to 5 months and do everything you can, you know, do sparring, do conditioning, see how it plays outside the gym, so just give it time and patience, that’s key.”

Baby cubs always grow up to be fierce lions, in the same way, Husam has grown up to be the king of his sport, and continues to nurture, protect, and guide his community.