For Tra-Kwon Pettis, fighting has always played a major role in his life. The Georgia native followed his father’s footsteps into boxing at age 11, after becoming involved in too many fights at school. His father volunteered young Pettis as a sparring partner for the boxers at Hitsville Boxing Gym in Atlanta, Georgia. Pettis got a rude awakening and quickly realized he was no match for any boxer in the gym. Although still intrigued by the sport, he stopped by the gym everyday—determined to become dominant in the ring. The overall experience ignited his passion for boxing.
Pettis began his training as an amateur fighter in 2008. Despite having lost his very first amateur bout, he wasn’t discouraged. Instead, it fueled his hunger for wins. He went on to participate in 135 amateur fights, with a record of 123-12— winning the 2009 National Silver Gloves and becoming the Ringside World Champion in 2014. However, in October of 2014, Pettis got a taste of defeat during his competition at the Police Athletic League in California, which was a wake up call for him. In effort to bounce back from his loss, Pettis drove down to the Mayweather Boxing Club for the first time to get some training in before heading back home to Augusta, Georgia. Though he was in town for only a few days, it was inspiring enough for him to be sparring and working out at the legendary Mayweather Boxing Club. With a newfound confidence, Pettis was determined to keep building his career.
Pettis went on to participate in the World Series of Boxing as part of the USA Knockouts team, after winning the qualifying tournament in Tennessee. In January of 2015, he faced off against Venezuela’s Luis Arcon and won by unanimous decision. In March, he was unable to overcome Italy’s Vincenzo Mangiacapre and walked away with a loss. Pettis made up that loss by winning his next fight against Kazimierz Łęgowski from Poland by unanimous decision in April. He held a record of 2-1 in the World Series of Boxing. Being part of this experience and traveling around the world was like a dream to Pettis. He felt honored to be the only person on the team in the Light Welterweight division. He’s proud to have been able to represent the United States in the ring, and challenge himself as a fighter. It was all an exciting adventure for the young boxer.
Pettis continued hitting the gym and honing his skills as a fighter. He would come visit Las Vegas on a regular basis to workout at the Mayweather Boxing Club with the hopes of an opportunity to showcase his talent and dedication to his craft. Mayweather eventually took notice to Pettis and would watch him spar against various opponents. Pettis knocked them down one after another. Impressed, Mayweather recruited Pettis to the Mayweather Promotions team in August of 2015. A month later, Pettis officially made Las Vegas his home. He made his debut under the Mayweather Promotions banner in dominating fashion, with a TKO victory over Devante Seay on the Mayweather vs. Berto card on September 12, 2015 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. He added another win to his record on November 14, 2015 against Marquis Hawthorne by unanimous decision at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. On February 16 2016, Pettis went up against Saul Montes at Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas, NV and walked away with another victory by unanimous decision. Pettis is looking forward to staying busy in 2016 and looking forward to adding more wins to his record.
When Pettis isn’t training in the gym, you can find him at the bowling alley with his stepdad. Family is important to Pettis and he tries hard to spend as much time as possible with his relatives. Although he lives in Las Vegas, his heart is in Georgia. He currently trains at the Mayweather Boxing Club under the guidance of his father, Eddie Pettis. When he’s in Georgia, he frequents the Atlanta Sports Complex. If Pettis wasn’t a boxer, he says he would be an architect or a tattoo artist—anything that would allow him to create and design with his hands. For now, he’s working toward getting his name known within the world of boxing. Pettis considers Floyd Mayweather a huge influence in his life. He hopes to follow in his footsteps and become an iconic world champion in the sport. In the meantime, Pettis is determined to make his journey to the top an exciting one to watch. He feels blessed for the surreal experience and the opportunity, and plans to make the most of it.