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Denver champion knocks ’em out

Denver Red Shield program instills values and produces champions.

by Roger Miller –

Melik “Hitman” Elliston [Photo by Roger Miller]

He’s under 5 feet tall and weighs just under 75 pounds soaking wet, but don’t let those numbers fool you. He is the “big” man at The Salvation Army Red Shield Community Center in Denver, led by Captains Ron and Roberta McKinney, and everyone there knows him as Melik “Hitman” Elliston. Melik, 14, who is small for his age, is the reigning National Silver Gloves Boxing Champion for his age and weight group.

His first fight was in 2006—he won—and he has been training at the community center the entire time. It doesn’t hurt when your Dad is your coach. Everette Elliston, Red Shield director of boxing, has been coaching Melik since day one and is impressed with his dedication.

“Melik knows what it takes to become a good fighter. He puts in the work every day,” says Coach Elliston. Melik takes the public bus from school to the community center every day to begin his three-hour training regimen of running, weights, jumping rope, heavy bag and sparring and more. The training, however, doesn’t begin until he completes all of his homework.

Fundamentals—of life and boxing
Well grounded in the fundamentals of life as well as boxing, Melik maintains a B average in school, maintains perfect school attendance and helps other young boxers at Red Shield. He also knows what he wants in life and what it will take to get there. Melik is shooting for the 2016 Olympics and then plans to turn professional.

Boxing was not the first sport Melik took on with a passion; he excelled at wrestling, football, baseball and soccer. His father, also a martial arts instructor, began teaching Melik the disciplines of martial arts that have transferred into success in the boxing ring. He hasn’t won all of his matches during his career but that, he says, has made him a better boxer.

“My best fight, the one I am very proud of, is one I lost last year,” he says. It was during the Colorado State Golden Gloves competition in Denver. “I was fighting a guy named Rudy and he was getting the better of me, but I fought my hardest to the end. I really pushed myself, never gave up, and that has made me a better boxer today.”

“Hitman” actually got his nickname from another sport—football. Always the smallest guy on the team, Melik nevertheless played a ferocious defense and was the hardest hitter. His coaches gave him the name “Hitman” and it stuck, even after he gave up football for boxing.

“Boxing is a physically tough sport,” he says, “but it is tougher mentally. You have to push yourself every day, even when you may not want to. But if I want to get to the Olympics, I know what I have to do. Someday, I want to train at the Olympic Training Center. That place is really cool,” Melik says with a huge smile.

Not everything in Melik’s life is boxing or school. “I am going to go back to The Salvation Army High Peak Camp this summer. I went there last year. It is really cool, too,” he states with enthusiasm. “I learned a lot there about nature, animals and what God does and how he loves us.”

When asked about his boxing style and philosophy, he quickly says, “Hit them and don’t get hit.” It seems to be a successful style so far for this talented, young champion.He’s under 5 feet tall and weighs just under 75 pounds soaking wet, but don’t let those numbers fool you. He is the “big” man at The Salvation Army Red Shield Community Center in Denver, led by Captains Ron and Roberta McKinney, and everyone there knows him as Melik “Hitman” Elliston. Melik, 14, who is small for his age, is the reigning National Silver Gloves Boxing Champion for his age and weight group.

His first fight was in 2006—he won—and he has been training at the community center the entire time. It doesn’t hurt when your Dad is your coach. Everette Elliston, Red Shield director of boxing, has been coaching Melik since day one and is impressed with his dedication.

“Melik knows what it takes to become a good fighter. He puts in the work every day,” says Coach Elliston. Melik takes the public bus from school to the community center every day to begin his three-hour training regimen of running, weights, jumping rope, heavy bag and sparring and more. The training, however, doesn’t begin until he completes all of his homework.

Fundamentals—of life and boxing
Well grounded in the fundamentals of life as well as boxing, Melik maintains a B average in school, maintains perfect school attendance and helps other young boxers at Red Shield. He also knows what he wants in life and what it will take to get there. Melik is shooting for the 2016 Olympics and then plans to turn professional.

Boxing was not the first sport Melik took on with a passion; he excelled at wrestling, football, baseball and soccer. His father, also a martial arts instructor, began teaching Melik the disciplines of martial arts that have transferred into success in the boxing ring. He hasn’t won all of his matches during his career but that, he says, has made him a better boxer.

“My best fight, the one I am very proud of, is one I lost last year,” he says. It was during the Colorado State Golden Gloves competition in Denver. “I was fighting a guy named Rudy and he was getting the better of me, but I fought my hardest to the end. I really pushed myself, never gave up, and that has made me a better boxer today.”

“Hitman” actually got his nickname from another sport—football. Always the smallest guy on the team, Melik nevertheless played a ferocious defense and was the hardest hitter. His coaches gave him the name “Hitman” and it stuck, even after he gave up football for boxing.

“Boxing is a physically tough sport,” he says, “but it is tougher mentally. You have to push yourself every day, even when you may not want to. But if I want to get to the Olympics, I know what I have to do. Someday, I want to train at the Olympic Training Center. That place is really cool,” Melik says with a huge smile.

Not everything in Melik’s life is boxing or school. “I am going to go back to The Salvation Army High Peak Camp this summer. I went there last year. It is really cool, too,” he states with enthusiasm. “I learned a lot there about nature, animals and what God does and how he loves us.”

When asked about his boxing style and philosophy, he quickly says, “Hit them and don’t get hit.” It seems to be a successful style so far for this talented, young champion.


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