Not everyone takes the same road to success. Alternate routes lead to the mountaintop, its traveler’s navigate intersecting paths laid with treacherous terrain and scenic expressways of beauty and splendor. Ultimately the roads lead to the same outcome, accolades and love or the pit stops of loss and settling before the journey is complete. Super middleweight prospect Ronald Akeem Ellis is currently winding his way to boxing success one turn at a time.
“I grew up normal like most kids in Lynn (Massachusetts); I played football, basketball, baseball. I was really active.” Ellis says recounting his early years before boxing. “I did karate and I liked it but I didn’t care too much for the point system in the competitions so; when I tried boxing, that was It.” It was said in ancient times somewhere, that every time a child or pre-teen falls in love with the sport of boxing an angel gets its wings.
“My coach told me I was a natural but you know, I thought they told all the kids that.” Sure a lot of coaches do that- hell even the biggest named coaches in the sport of boxing do that; it’s because they see something, an inkling of the greatness they’ve been searching for, something to cultivate, something to grow.
“I lost my first amateur fight but, a few months later I fought that kid again and stopped him it felt good and I knew I had something going. Then I won the Golden Gloves.” 2010 Golden Gloves to be exact and he beat U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha. “Gausha was tough man, really tough that was a big moment for me.” Following the Golden Gloves Ellis would turn professional after moving to Bayamon Puerto Rico.
“I was being trained by the Rivera brothers; Andy, Albert and Alex, we got to talking and the next thing I know I’m living in Puerto Rico and I turned professional right away. I only had like 25 amateur fights, it may have been too quick but it is what it is.” The allure of boxing success after winning a Golden Gloves tournament is nothing new, promoters’ line up to sign impressive winners of the heralded tournament to market the Golden Gloves Champ because the title holds weight.
Boxing staple Top Rank signed Ellis and connected him with popular trainer Robert Garcia- only to drop him later. “I was young and dumb, I failed a drug test for marijuana. I wasn’t focused and I broke my elbow so they probably thought, you know that’s it for this guy and they dropped me.” Ahh to be young again, to live without consequence.
Only for the fighter small mistakes make for big consequences.
“I went pro and I thought I was going to fight like every month, five years later I’m barely 12-0.” A simple mistake coupled with an injury put Ellis on the shelf for over a year, fighting only once in early 2013. He wouldn’t step into the ring for another fifteen months.
“I got a call from Rachel Charles and Ken Sheer from Sheer Sports Management and it’s like they brought the hope back, I feel really good about where I’m at right now. All that time I didn’t fight I think my body just reset and I realized I’m not a bad guy I just made a mistake you know, but after this fight they’re going to keep me busy.” The gym keeps a fighter out of trouble, out of the streets and away from friends that don’t share the same goals or discipline.
The lessons learned from falling are often the ones that stick, the sting from the experience provides a lasting impression that leads to an appreciation for the good in life. “I’m working with Naz Graham and Wally Moses now, they got me training really well. I’m back to being slick, back to doing what made me successful.”
“What kind of gym guy are you?” I asked Ellis during our conversation over the phone. “Are you a gym rat? Are you the kind of guy that goes in and works then checks out?”
“Oh I’m a gym rat, I’m on the treadmill right now while were talking” Ellis says with a laugh “I’m always working out, always trying to get better.”
February 19th Ellis returns to the ring in a televised ShoBox eight round bout, a show and venue that holds a place in the minds of fans for cultivating the next stars of the sport. Ellis 12-0 10KO’s faces Jerry Odom 13-2 12KO’s in a step up fight that pits two hard punchers against each other. “I’ve seen him fight, he likes to come forward hopefully I can get him to walk into something and he gives me a short night of work.”