The unbeaten, 22-year-old prospect from Capitol Heights, Maryland is turning heads as a pro.
The heavy bag hung from a chain, fastened to a wooden cross beam. Each time the bag was hit, the whole house would rattle. There wasn’t much room. A beat-up washer and dryer were a few feet away, providing enough space to position his little feet.
This was Travon Marshall’s boxing incubator. He was a pesky nine-year-old who would follow his uncle into his dim, dank basement, and marvel with a child’s wide-eyed wonderment at the tiny dust plumes that the heavy bag would spout each time his uncle hit it.
It’s where Marshall’s love affair with boxing began. It’s where his rudiments originated, pounding his fists on that spent, old bag. Marshall was a kid who always liked to fight, and at a young age, he began seeing a future in the sport. Anytime he got a chance to hit something, he did.
Through time, the 22-year-old Marshall has blossomed into a six-foot welterweight with a 6-0 record, finishing five opponents within the distance as a pro. The Capitol Heights, Maryland, resident has fast hands, quick feet, a boxing acumen off the charts and, more importantly, a deep passion for the sport.
He also listens well.
“When I first saw Travon, I saw a lot of potential and for him to do things in many weight classes, because of his height,” said Andrew Council, Marshall’s respected trainer and former 1990’s middleweight title contender who faced Hall of Famers Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright, and WBC world middleweight champion Keith Holmes. “When I look at Travon, he reminds me of a combination of fighters. At times, he reminds me of Tommy Hearns, with his height and with his power, he has skills like (Andre) Ward, and like the Charlo brothers. Travon started boxing, but he began playing football a little bit before he got hurt.
“But he is on the right track. He has the right team around him. And he’s a good kid. He’s laid back. He has a great personality, a great sense of humor, he’s someone who can go to a party, wait against the wall and by the end of the night, everyone in the place would know Travon. We have a great relationship. This is just the beginning.”
Council has done great work with Marshall the last three years. He’s served as trainer, mentor, older brother, and counselor. He’s also thrown Marshall in against some of the best in boxing today. Marshall has sparred a who’s who, like former IBF lightweight world champion Robert Easter Jr., the Fox brothers, Alantez and Mykal, former super welterweight world champions Julian “J-Rock” Williams and Jarrett Hurd, super middleweight contender Kyrone Davis, middleweight title contender Chordale Booker, rising middleweight prospect Troy Isley and lightweight prospect Keyshawn Davis, among many others.
Marshall, the oldest of eight, has taken pieces of what he’s learned from them and incorporated that into his own style.
“ I had a lot of examples of what not to be growing up. ” Undefeated Super Welterweight Prospect - Travon Marshall
He also has a powerful, new motivation in his life that spurs him to succeed.
“I have my daughter, Teaya Ali Marshall, and that’s changed a lot of things in my life,” Marshall said. “I know a lot of people would think that her middle name is Ali after Muhammad Ali, with me in boxing (laughs), but that’s something her mother liked when we were watching a movie together. I take her to the gym with me. I remember one time when I was sparring Mykal Fox and she was scrambling around, running around all over the place the whole time.
“I was always motivated. My daughter has motivated me even more. I’ve never been the party type. Times are crazy right now, and I try to watch myself, because I know what’s it’s like not to have a father. My daughter won’t have to worry about that. I have ‘Drew’ (Council) in my life. He’s more than a trainer to me. He’s kept me on the straight-and-narrow, and I would never question Drew. He stays on me, and my grandmother and mother stay on me.
“I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Dominique Hunter, his mother, has eight children ranging in age from 22 to three. She worked two jobs, working overnight at a hotel and as a server, to provide for Travon and his siblings. Carolyn Young, his maternal grandmother, was a stickler with him about his academics and who he would socialize with.
“I had a lot of examples of what not to be growing up,” Marshall said. “When I was 12, 13, I started thinking about one day turning pro. I knew what I wanted at a very young age. I had family members constantly in my ear about not being on the streets. I had family in jail. I’m trying to break the family curse. My dad was incarcerated and recently got out. My dad is trying to get himself together and it will take some time to build that bond with him.
“If there is a real hero here, it is my mom. My mom and grandmother were always there to support me. I have my daughter, I have my mom and grandmom, that’s some powerful motivation. My mom would work all night, come home, get a few hours of sleep, and my grandmother would take care of us.”
At first, Dominique was a little skeptical about her oldest getting involved with boxing. But Travon has slowly brought her around.
She was the loudest fan in the stands during his fourth-round knockout of Brian Jones on Christmas Day 2021, in Newark, New Jersey.
“Travon is a character kid and he’s willing to be patient,” Council said. “With his daughter in his life, that’s made him more responsible. Responsibility is always good. A person with no responsibility they tend to live their lives reckless. Travon spoils his daughter. She’s the boss when he brings her to the gym. She makes him work his foot movement (laughs).
“I’m not in a rush with him, because he’s still young. He hasn't gotten his man strength yet. We’ll build his rounds and we’re going to be patient. The sky is the limit for him.”