OAKLAND, CA – Locally well –known gym warrior Troy King has signed an exclusive contract with the Northern California-based Ortega Boxing for the rights to advise his professional career, which will launch on a November date to be announced in the coming weeks. King, a solidly-built welterweight, has been preparing himself for his professional debut out of the gym Boxing for Health in Oakland, which he runs with owner Miguel Lopez, an active pro fighter himself.
King, a veteran of only about fifteen amateur bouts, spent his unpaid career focusing more on an eventual move to the paid ranks, rather than attempting to rack up an impressive record or capture titles. “My amateur career was just about being comfortable with myself more so than actually winning matches,” says King bluntly. “That may sound funny, but it was all about performing well under the bright lights and doing what I had learned in training and sparring. I want to look fundamentally sound and sharp. That was what I worked on in the amateurs. People told me I could be a good amateur, but I didn’t like the style back then because of the scoring system and I am not a fan of the headgear at all. ”
Like something out of a Hollywood movie, King literally lives in the gym. Just off the main lobby of the gym, where you will more than likely find King if he’s not working out a client or himself in the ring, is a small loft where the fighter rests briefly between workouts.
“I’ve got my own little mansion,” says King of the Boxing for Health gym in the heart of Downtown Oakland. “It really does feel like I live in a mansion because I have my own gym. I got like a little loft. I basically just work out all the time and when I need a little rest I go pop in the back for a little bit, just enough time to get my energy back up and go back out there and get some more work in. It’s all about work, work, work. It’s non-stop work, especially when you live in a gym.”
King is one of several budding boxing standouts training out of the Oakland gym, an environment like few others in the region. Returning light middleweight and gym owner Lopez, fast-rising 154-pounder Aaron Coley, soon-to-turn-pro welterweight Otis Seymore, former amateur standout and pro heavyweight Bernard Gray and others all work out of the gym which is just a short jog from the world famous Lake Merritt.
“It’s just been a real fun experience, because we are all young, young and up-and-coming,” says Troy of the collection of fighters and winning environment. “We all just try and do the best we can. We basically all have our own careers in our own hands, which can’t be said by a lot of people. We make our own rules, we have our own gym. We can train and we can spar 24 hours a day if we wanted to.”
Planning to grow rapidly in the coming months, Ortega Boxing is excited to be working with a dedicated young pro and stand-up individual such as Troy King. “Fighters who have had carefully architected amateur careers that have led to flashy records and titles are always going to be the ones that get all of the attention when they turn professional,” explains Ortega Boxing founder Mario Ortega Jr.
“However, as history has shown, some of the best careers have been had by fighters that seemingly came out of nowhere. Olympians and National title holders will have doors opened for them immediately, but there is something to be said about the fighter that knocks those doors down himself from the get-go. Those are the fighters that appreciate success when it comes because they have worked hard and experienced the climb to get to that position.”
King, originally from Akron, Ohio, fell into the sport on a chance encounter. “I got into boxing after I got to train a boxer, just helping him out with mitt work,” recalls King. “Then when he moved away, I just started boxing one day and never stopped.”
King first hooked up with respected trainer Omar Dawood after finding the sport in Akron. ”He’s still kind of like my coach,” says King. “I still call him for advice. He’s a great coach, good fundamentals, great mitt work.”
After moving about 125 miles southwest to Columbus, Ohio, King hooked up another quality trainer in Mike Johnson. “I have always been blessed with great coaches,” says King. “Mike Johnson is an excellent coach. He’s got a lot of trickery, old school stuff.”
After moving to the Bay Area, King spent time with trainer Ben Bautista of the locally renowned Straight Forward Boxing Club across the Bay in San Francisco. Now with Bautista having moved his camp to Las Vegas, Nevada, King has begun prepping for his pro debut with long noted trainer Mario L’Esperance.
Though just beginning, King has goals both big and small. “I want to be the pound-for-pound best, but more importantly I just want to be the best I can,” says King. “I just want to be special, that’s it. I don’t really care about belts, but I just want to have a real nice, clean, fresh record and swag. I want to look like swag on top of swag. Win, but look good doing it. I want to be special.”