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4-12-24 — West Senior Works Toward Professional Boxing Career

April 12, 2024 ~ In this edition of #OPSMyFuture, we caught up with Marco Romero, a senior at Olathe West High School. Romero has been the No. 1 ranked amateur boxer in his weight class for the past five years, having won 17 national championships. He has one more amateur fight next month, and although his priority right now is to graduate high school, he will soon look to launch a career in professional boxing.

“I try to represent Olathe and Olathe West at the highest levels of boxing,” Romero said. “Being from Olathe, it’s given me a lot of motivation to be successful in my sport and hopefully give back to my community.”

Marco in a boxing pose outside Olathe West High SchoolBorn and raised in Olathe, Romero attended Countryside Elementary and Pioneer Trail Middle School. He attended Olathe East High School for two years before following his younger brother to Olathe West for his junior year. Romero is an Owl Link Leader at Olathe West. Owl Link Leaders is a student-centered leadership and mentor program that provides structure for freshmen to receive support and guidance from upperclassmen.

“I have great relationships here at West. They welcomed me right away,” Romero said. “Even though boxing takes up a lot of my time, education is always a priority for me. I try my best to get involved and do whatever I can to be a leader for other kids out there.”

Romero has a busy schedule, training three hours a day for six days a week at Turner Boxing Academy in Kansas City, Kansas. Through his gym, he travels to tournaments around the country with a team of five or six boxers. Balancing school and boxing isn’t new to Romero, but the workload only grows as he gets older. He wants to focus on making it as a pro boxer but is still leaving the door open for more education. Romero’s uncles work in construction, and he wants to go into the HVAC field and maybe even start his own business someday.

“I’ve balanced school and boxing my whole life,” Romero said. “I know in the pros there is a lot more training, but I think anything is possible with dedication.”

In amateur boxing, competition picks up as kids get older, with the tougher and bigger events getting more common around 12 to 14 years old. Romero, who started boxing at age 7, has been in 133 amateur fights in his career, with just five total losses — he hasn’t lost since 2019. He’s won 17 national championships in various tournaments, including four USA Boxing titles, the biggest amateur event in the country. This past December, Romero, fighting in the 165-pound division, won the USA Boxing Olympic Trials in Louisiana. However, he won’t be able to compete in the Paris 2024 Olympics due to age and class qualifications.

“Unfortunately, I’m a little too young and my weight class won’t be a contest weight class at the Olympics,” Romero said. “If the opportunity comes to compete for the 2028 Olympics, it would definitely be something I'd look forward to, but right now I’m just focused on starting my pro career.”

Romero is set to compete in his final amateur tournament at the Detroit Golden Gloves event next month. From there, he plans to begin his pro career through talks with promoters, with his goal to bring a world championship to Kansas.

“A lot of athletes chase for the money, but for me, my biggest motivation is to bring back something for my community and the kids that are behind me,” Romero said. “No matter where you’re from, you can make it to wherever you want to be.”