The 18-year-old Cleveland Heights native is the No. 1 amateur boxer in the U.S. One of eight siblings, the two-time Youth National Champion and 2016 Olympic Trials Champion has been sparring for four months to ready himself for the rings of Rio de Janeiro.
Name game: During a late night training session in his Cleveland Heights home, Conwell’s father and coach rattled off nicknames as his son practiced uppercuts and jabs until he found a moniker that stuck: Bad News. “It’s ’cause when you get in the ring with me, it’s going to be bad news for you,” Conwell explains.
Chat room: Although Conwell counts the talkative Muhammad Ali as one of his boxing influences, he doesn’t feel the need to mimic the late great’s in-ring trash talk. “I prefer to let my hands do all the talking,” he warns.
Home phone: Not many teenagers shuffle straight from high school prom to sparring with medal winners at Team USA’s training facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado, but Conwell stays grounded by talking frequently with his girlfriend, Imari White. “She’s really supportive, keeps me in check,” he says. “She’s both my coach and my supporter.”