By Katie Smythe

Troy Isley gets a hero's welcome from Lyles-Crouch students (Photo: Katie Smythe)

Troy Isley, at age 19, is a two-time U.S. Boxing National Champion and bronze medalist at the 2017 World Championship. But when he is in Alexandria, he is remembered as a hometown kid who experienced a turnaround through boxing.

Growing up in Alexandria, Troy was a good student but got into trouble at school for picking fights, according to his former principal and teachers. Troy started honing his skills at the Alexandria Boxing Club in the Charles Houston Recreation Center at age 10, when his father brought him in to keep him from getting into fights at school or the neighborhood. Troy found success in the ring through dedication and hard work. Training under Coach Kay Koroma, he won his first national competition at age 11, when he was in sixth grade. Now a 2017 graduate of T. C. Williams High School, Troy has earned several national titles and competes with Team USA in national and international competitions.

Troy’s mentors at the Alexandria Boxing Club often tell the story of his turnaround because it embodies so much of what they believe in — that children, if given the chance and the outlet with proper discipline and guidance, can harness their energy and can go further than any of us can dream.

Troy Isley at Alexandria Boxing Club (courtesy photo)

Troy made the rounds this week while he was back in Alexandria. His first stop was the Boys & Girls Club on Wednesday, then his former elementary school Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy on Thursday and the Alexandria Boxing Club on Friday.

When visiting Lyles-Crouch, Troy talked with students about his path to success in the ring. What he liked about boxing was that he never had to rely on anyone else; it was only him in the ring. He described how his confidence improved as he started winning, but he learned the most from the fights he lost. His advice to kids starting out is to practice every day and commit to getting better. Education is also an important and having supportive parents and teachers.

Most recently, Troy competed with Team USA in Bulgaria where he won the silver medal. He missed out on gold in a split decision against two-time Olympian and 2011 World Championship bronze medalist from India. Troy is competing next in the USA vs. Ireland Northeast Boxing Tour, which starts March 9. Following the tour, he will return to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to prepare for more international competitions. This is only the beginning of a long journey as they progress towards the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.  

Troy Isley Visits Lyles-Crouch