“I’m feeling good,” Isley said. “I’m ready. I’m eager and getting anxious.”
Isley recently signed a multi-year contract with Top Rank, a boxing promoter, and has his first fight on Saturday, Feb. 13. For Isley, it’s part of a hopeful comeback after narrowly missing a chance to compete at the Olympics.
“I didn’t get to go to the Olympics, don’t have quite the following I would, but I still have a good following with three years on the team,” Isley said. “I’m still well known. Right now, I’m using that chip on my shoulder. I’ve got to win… I’ve been going all out, working hard, and it’s giving me that extra push. It didn’t come through on the Olympic dream, I gotta make this.”
Isley started boxing as a child with the Alexandria Boxing Club but said it wasn’t until late in high school when he started seriously considering it at a career path.
“It’s not that I didn’t believe in myself, I was confident when I got in the ring — but when I got on the team senior year was when [it sunk in],” Isley said.
While coronavirus has shut down athletic activities, Isley got relatively lucky: he needed about a year to recover from shoulder surgeries near the start of the pandemic.
“It didn’t quite impact me as bad,” Isley said. “I had to get two shoulder surgeries, so I was rehabbing and recovering. It didn’t really do anything from me, I had to recover anyway. It really came right in time.”
Isley said boxing gave him an avenue he’d never expected to success, and said he hopes others in Alexandria can come out of the pandemic with similar passions they can believe in and stick to.
Photo via Top Rank Boxing/Facebook