Bowling Green, Kentucky, is known as the city where the Corvette is made. A young man with big dreams aims to put Bowling Green on the map for another reason: home of an Olympic boxing champion. Ebenezer Griffith, whose first name is drawn from a Bible verse and means “stone of help,” is about to embark on his journey to compete in the Paris 2024 Olympics for Team USA Boxing. This goal has required him to pursue boxing full time, so he has made the difficult decision to drop out of college. He has also put his social life on hold to eliminate all potential distractions. He has good reason to do so, as he has been told he is “next up” by those involved in the amateur boxing world.

Among amateurs nationwide, Griffith is currently ranked fifth overall in the country in his weight class.
“Growing up on the West End of Louisville was hard, especially growing up being one of 12 siblings in one household.”

~ Ebenezer Griffith

Statistics show that the odds of becoming an Olympian are slim. According to Bill Mallon, past president and co-founder of the International Society of Olympic Historians, the odds are roughly one in 500,000. But for Griffith, long odds are nothing new. “Growing up on the West End of Louisville was hard, especially growing up being one of 12 siblings in one household,” Griffith says. “Having guns pulled on me and my brother in an attempted robbery when we were just young kids around the age of 10 outside of a gas station. But it’s not where you start, it's where you finish."

Griffith shadow boxes in the ring of Bowling Green Boxing Gym, which is the only USA Boxing certified gym in the city. Though resources in the city are scarce when it comes to boxing support, Griffith says he takes great pride in representing the city as he dreams of the Olympics.

Due to insufficient lighting in portions of Bowling Green Boxing gym, Griffith uses a desk lamp to illuminate the speed bag during his workout.

Though his childhood was rough, Griffith says it has in some ways prepared him for the ring. “Every time I step into the ring, I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself. All the noise and the criticism and the mental pressure that I put on myself fades into the gray once I step into the ring and I am face to face with my opponent."

After his first workout of the day and completing a run, Griffith stands at the top of the hill on Western Kentucky University’s campus, a school he decided to withdraw from when the workouts and training took over his time and his life. "Sometimes you have to follow your dreams and bet on yourself. I remember going through that first semester of finance classes and going to shadow some people in the industry and thinking this isn't where I want to be. So after that I decided I wanted to give up school and pursue boxing full time and try to make it professionally."

Despite the challenges he has faced along the way, including injuries and setbacks, Griffith refuses to give up. He trains tirelessly, perfecting his technique and building his stamina so that he can go the distance in the ring. Workout by workout he gets closer to realizing his dream of representing his country – and his city – on the world stage.

Griffith says that his dedication and perseverance, and working through the physical and mental demands of his training, goes far beyond boxing itself. "You think I put in all the time, work and preparation just to win a couple of boxing matches? Nah man, it's more than that. I am here to prove something to myself. Not to anyone else not my family, friends, no one but myself; prove that I can achieve this greatness for myself."

Griffiths body tattoo reflects a Bible verse that he learned in church growing up: 1 SAMUEL 7:12 “Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and he named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’”
"Boxing is the sport of self-discovery. Finding out who you are and what you're made of. It's about pushing yourself to the limit and then pushing a little further. It's about overcoming the odds and proving the doubters wrong and proving something to yourself," Griffith says.

Griffith poses for a studio portrait just a few weeks before his main event fight on March 31, 2023. "I have held off on turning pro just to try and represent my country. I could have gone pro if it wasn't for this goal that I have for myself of becoming an Olympian. Because the catch is that once you give up your amateur status then you no longer are able to qualify for the Olympics. They only allow amateurs to go and represent the United States." Griffith says.