Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Troy Isley prepares for Olympic boxing debut, grateful to God for opportunity

Competing in the Tokyo Olympics seemed unlikely for Troy Isley when he suffered an upset in the U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials in December 2019. But due to several Olympic qualifiers being canceled due to COVID-19 and a pandemic-related change to the U.S. team’s eligibility requirements, Isley and two others were late additions to the team.

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After the announcement in June that he would be going to Tokyo, Isley, a 22-year-old middleweight (165 lbs./75 kg), credited God with the opportunity to compete.

“It feels as my dream as an 8-year-old kid has finally come true,” he said. “Two years ago, I thought it was over, but I always prayed and hoped for the best and hoped I would get another opportunity and God gave it to me.”

Isley, lightweight Keyshawn Davis and featherweight Duke Ragan will become the first pro fighters ever to represent America in the Olympics. They all turned professional during the pandemic, but when so many events were canceled, Olympic spots were awarded based on amateur world rankings. Isley, Davis and Ragan were all still high enough in those rankings based on results from 2019 to earn Olympic berths. They were added to the U.S. team four weeks after the first six boxers were named.

From Alexandria, Virginia, Isley has already demonstrated incredible prowess in boxing. He started in the ring early in his life, beginning tournament play as a 12-year-old. He found success in the sport, winning the National PAL Championship three times as well as earning gold in the 2014 National Junior Olympics.

He then went on to capture gold medals in both the 2016 and 2017 Elite National Championships, and followed with a bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships. He gained another bronze in 2019 at the Pan American Games.

As a newly professional boxer, Isley holds a record of 2-0.

In Tokyo, Isley will take full advantage of his second chance as he looks to earn Team USA its first men’s middleweight medal since 2004, when Andre Dirrell won bronze. The preliminary rounds for men’s middleweight boxing will begin Monday with the round of 32. The semifinals will occur August 5 before the final on August 7.

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