By Max Goodwin
Malachi Ross, 15, is a sophomore at Grandview High School. He plays on the football team, easily makes friends and does well in the classroom, thanks to his dad Micah, who makes sure of it. He’s just a regular high school kid in many ways.
What is most definitely irregular about Malachi’s life is his status as the top ranked 15-year-old boxer in the United States in his weight class of 145 pounds. He earned the title by winning at the 2021 USA Boxing National Championships in Shreveport, La., in December.
“It’s a real big deal,” Malachi said.
It’s not the first time Malachi has won a national championship. In 2018, when Malachi was 12, he won the USA National Junior Olympic championship.
Malachi’s toughest match of the tournament was his first, which ended in a split decision by the judges for Malachi. He then won his next two matches, including the championship, in unanimous decisions. Now, Malachi is the national champion.
“He wanted this one bad, so we trained hard,” Malachi’s father Micah said. “You know, there were kids from all over the country, everywhere. They come in these big teams with all these sweat suits and me and Malachi just walked in there, just me and him, straight out of Grandview, and wiped them all out.”
Malachi comes from a boxing family. His uncle and grandfather were both amateur boxers, and Micah has always been a fan of the sport. When Malachi was 4 years old, Micah started working with him, showing him how to hit pads and mitts.
From the beginning Malachi loved it. He was a natural.
“He caught on real quick. I took him to a boxing gym as a little kid and let him spar a round and he did really good,” Micah said.
At 8 years old, Malachi competed in his first boxing match and won. Micah could see then that Malachi really had potential. But in his first couple years of competing, he often came away with the silver medal rather than the gold.
The struggle to break through and finally win a tournament drove Malachi, still such a young kid at the time, to train and improve his skills. Eventually his focus on practice turned into results in the ring. Malachi has been collecting the trophies ever since.
For a teenager who has been crowned national champion multiple times, Malachi is pretty laid back about the whole experience. His opponents know his name and accomplishments, and like any defending champion, he knows they will look to him as the one to beat.
“Heavy is the head that wears the crown,” Malachi tweeted along with a photo of him holding the championship belt.
Now that Malachi has reached the junior division of USA boxing, winning at the USA National Championships qualifies him to train as part of the USA Junior National Team and USA boxing in Colorado.
It would be the perfect preparation for a future goal Malachi has of winning an Olympic gold medal. And as he waits for details of how the next stage of training will unfold, he’s happy to have time to just be a regular kid.
“Sometimes you just want to hang out with your friends, you know, just chill sometimes, but you have to lose weight or go train,” Malachi said.
When asked about his future plans, his laid back nature fades for just a moment and he begins to show the confidence of a boxing champion.
“I just want my fans to stay tuned and support me, just keep watching and I’m going to get big someday,” he said.
His dad is proud of what Malachi accomplished this past year. He set out with a goal of winning the National Championship and achieved it.
“I knew he was going to do it,” Micah said.