Meet The Contender Champion - Troy Ross

By Barbara Pinnella

 

Contender Champion, Troy Ross! Scott Duncan photo

When I spoke with Troy Ross, he was not ready for me to call him “Champ”. It still doesn’t seem real to him. “I’m trying to let it all soak in right now,” he told me. “Now I’m getting calls from everyone. My phone has not stopped ringing, just congratulating me.”

As an amateur fighter, Ross was very successful, and great things were expected of him when he turned professional. But his pro career did not live up to the expectations of many. This win could be just what he needs.

“I feel that now my pro career has just started,” he told me. “I’ve been boxing as a pro since 2001, but now I can feel that my pro career has actually just started. I still feel good and I’m ready to go hands up, and ready to box with the best of them, even at 33 years of age.”

 

His road to the finale for Troy began with Lawrence Tauasa, who he knocked out in the second round of their fight. The knockout came courtesy of a right hook. This was also the first time in his 15-year career that Tauasa had been stopped.

His next fight was with Felix Cora, Jr., and just to prove that he is not a one-trick pony, he quickly stopped Cora, with a left this time, in the first round.

Then he faced Akinyemi “A.K. 47” Laleye. This fight went the scheduled five, and Ross got the unanimous decision. As he progressed up the ladder, he must have been feeling more and more confident.

“My confidence definitely built a lot,” he said. “It always catches me off guard when I stop someone. I know I have power in both hands, but sometimes you don’t expect it to land, you expect your opponent to pull through and be able keep up.

“Because of my accuracy – I’m very precise when I hit – I just caught these guys. They make one mistake and I just catch them right on target. But I did look at it and wonder, ‘What kind of shape am I in?’ I only did three rounds, two with Lawrence and one with Felix. But going into the fight with A.K. I felt strong, I felt really good. I was happy that I was able to actually put in the five rounds and be able to win it unanimously.

“When A.K. comes, he comes to fight, and that’s the one thing I like about that guy,” he continued. “He wasn’t the biggest guy on the team. He had the height, but he usually weighed in about 187, 188. I said to A.K. that he’d probably be one of the toughest fighters in this competition, because he’s yet unknown. After watching A.K. spar, he displayed a lot of skills to me.”

Ross also told me that A.K. gave him his toughest fight, probably not a surprise, since it was his only fight that went the distance.. “He pushed me the hardest. It was a tough fight, but I went at it with the mindset that no matter what happens in this fight, I’m getting to the finals. I think that might have played a little part on me, and I made it a harder fight than I needed to.”

And then there were two, Ross and Ehinomen “Hollywood Hino” Ehikhamenor. “We expected Hino to come out and be flashy for a good three to five rounds. I expected him to be fast, and do certain things. What we did not expect him to do was to try to fight with me. At first he started boxing, and then he began to trade with me. But I think it was a mistake on his part, because like I said, I’ve got power in both hands, it’s just which ever one lands first.

“We started out the fight,” he continued, “pretty much establishing ourselves in the first two rounds. Then after the second round it was time to step to him, and see exactly how far you can go. So I added a little bit more pressure to him by pushing him back on the ropes. After a while, the punches just started landing. That ended in an early stoppage in the fourth round.”

Hino of course, did not think the fight should have been stopped. The answer might have been obvious, but I had to ask what Troy felt about that. “I think it was a very good call. You have a guy who turned his back, pretty much put up the white flag saying that’s the end of the fight. And leading up to that, Hino got caught with some tremendous punches.”

The pace of the fight was quite fast, but during the post-fight interview Ross said that he felt he was getting stronger each round. A moot point now, but I wondered if he thought he could have kept up that pace for 10 rounds.

“I knew about this fight since we got back from Singapore on October 16. The first day of my training camp was December 1, so I knew I could keep up the pace. It started off fast, but I’m usually a fast starter. Going through to 10 rounds, I don’t think I would have had any problems. Every time I went back to the corner my coach Chris Amos would say, ‘Troy, you aren’t even breathing hard.’ He knew I was in tremendous shape for this fight, and we were ready for it.”

As long as Amos was mentioned, let’s give credit to all of those in Troy’s corner. He told me that it’s usually a family affair. Amos is his first cousin, Egerton Marcus is his other cousin and Chris’ brother, and his father, Charles; all were there and played a big part. Not family, but there in his corner as well was Contender trainer John Bray and Cutman Carlos.

Troy came across as one of the good guys on the show, but we certainly didn’t see all that happened. I was just curious as to whether that is the real Troy. He made it very clear about one thing. “I’m strictly business. I went out there to train and become The Contender winner, and that’s exactly what I did. But I am one of the nice guys. I’m laid back, and I don’t really cause any kind of a problem.”

Right now Ross is taking a week or so to reflect on things and let them soak in a little bit more. After that Troy told me that, “It’s what my promoters The Contender and Yves Michel have planned for me next. But I’m ready for everything, and I can’t wait. This has just been an unbelievable opportunity. Jeff Wald put this show together, The Contender, and it’s an amazing show. It shows boxers in a different light, where everyone gets a chance to know 16 individuals inside and out, and puts another light on the sport.”

Troy had one more thing he wanted people to know. “If anyone wants to get the RossWear T-shirts, you can always look on my website, rosswear.ca. where you can order the RossWear shirts.”

Fighter, entrepreneur, nice guy. Hmm, it seems that Troy Ross, the new Contender Champion, has it all going his way. And I hope it continues for him! I want to thank him for spending so much time with me, and…

CONGRATULATIONS, TROY ROSS!   

 

Be safe and God Bless,

Viva La Raza

Barb.