Around 6 p.m. on a Monday, boxers begin trickling in through the front door of the Columbus PAL gym. Most of them are adolescent boys, still growing into their bodies.
Not Trevon Childs.
The 26-year-old, who recently moved to Columbus, stands out from the second he enters the gym, but that’s likely the case almost anywhere he goes. Childs appears bigger than the reported 6 feet and 200 pounds — perhaps because there doesn’t seem to be an ounce of fat on his chiseled frame.
Childs cuts an impressive figure — and he’s laying the foundation for an equally impressive future in boxing. In April, he claimed the open heavyweight championship at the Indiana state Golden Gloves tournament, winning the title bout by second-round knockout.
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Last month, Childs went to the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he reached the quarterfinals before losing by decision to New York’s Marquise Williams.
According to trainer Ron Thompson, illness may have had just as much to do with Childs losing as Williams did.
“I had him stay in bed all day that day,” Thompson said. “His sinuses got so bad, he couldn’t breathe. He sounded like he was drowning.”
Regardless of the end result in Utah, there’s no doubt that Childs has talent — and he appears to be just scratching the surface as he arrives in Columbus.
Born in Gary, Childs was a three-sport star at Terre Haute South, playing football and basketball and running track. A few years later, he took up boxing and found that he had a knack for it, winning the novice heavyweight division at the Indiana Golden Gloves in 2013 and 2014.
Shortly thereafter, though, Childs got a job opportunity in California and stepped away from boxing entirely.
After about a year out on the West Coast, he returned to Indiana, settling in Columbus and taking a marketing job with Angie’s List in Indianapolis. A friend who knew longtime Columbus boxer Seth Caffee recommended the PAL gym to Childs, who jumped back into the ring this spring and picked up right where he left off.
Well, more or less, anyway.
“It was kind of tough getting back into it, man,” Childs admitted. “I had to knock off a lot of rust. … Seth and Ron helped me out quite a bit.”
“When he came here, there were things we had to change,” Thompson agreed. “You’ve always got to change something.”
Though there was certainly a transition period with Childs returning to the sport and working with new trainers, Thompson knew pretty quickly that he was working with a very talented fighter.
“When he first got here, I put him in with one of my other heavyweights (Alex Stillabower) that is a national champion,” the longtime coach said, “and he was holding his own with him.”
Stillabower isn’t fighting anymore, so Childs has to travel out of town to find sparring partners that can push him. Thompson says they travel up to Indianapolis weekly for workouts, and that “there’s a guy up there that beats him up every Tuesday.”
The short-term plan, Thompson explains, is to get Childs a couple of tuneup fights before his next big event — the Midwest Boxing Showcase at the Indiana Black Expo, which takes place July 16 and 17 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.
The long-term plan still is unwritten, although Childs certainly has some ideas. One of those is taking another stab at a national Golden Gloves crown — but eventually, he’d like to move beyond the amateur ranks.
“This is something I have a passion about,” Childs said. “Eventually, turning pro is my ultimate goal, but right now I’m just trying to take it one step and one day at a time. Get as much experience as I can under my belt while I’m still young at a ripe age.”
Columbus, Childs says, is the perfect place for him to be while he’s climbing the ladder, because he can stay focused without anything around to knock him off track.
Childs is driven to succeed — and Thompson has no doubt that his newest protégé has the ability to do so.
“I think he can go to the top if that’s what he wants to do,” Thompson stated. “He’s learning, he listens, and now we just work on getting everything fine-tuned the way we want it.”
Once that’s taken care of, the sky’s the limit.