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Golden Gloves Knockout

By: Tracy Chimming, Maria Clark, Indrani Datta, Jeanmarie Evelly & Jessica Wakeman

Boxing fans gathered Wednesday night in Brooklyn to watch 14 young hopefuls battle it out to advance in the famous Golden Gloves competition.

Held at Thomas Jefferson High School, the event was just one in a 10-week series of bouts before the final showdown at Madison Square Garden on April 16th and 17th.

The Golden Gloves, which began in 1926 and was founded by New York Daily News sports editor Paul Gallico, is the premiere amateur boxing event in the country. While the competitions occur nationwide, the New York title is considered by many boxing fans to be the most elite.
“They say Madison Square Garden is the Mecca of boxing, then the Golden Gloves are the Mecca of boxing competitions,” said Eddie Acevedo, president of the USA Boxing Metropolitan Association, who hosts the events. The Daily News sponsors the program.

The competitors, donning gold and blue silk robes, waltzed around the gym, throwing punches and warming up while their family and friends waited anxiously on the sidelines.
On a set of blue gym bleachers sat Hussain Abdullah of Coney Island, who came to watch his 25-year-old son, Faisal Abdullah, compete in the final match of the night.

“I’m always tense when I come to these,” he said. “You wonder if he’s going to win or not.”
One of the first winners of the night was Wesley Ferrer, a slim 16-year-old from Brooklyn who says he trains six days a week at the Brotherhood Boxing Club in Ridgewood, Queens. Ferrer defeated opponent Louis Cruz in the 132-pound novice bout, the second match of the night. He came at his opponent with a ferocity that wouldn’t expect from his young frame.

Last week, at a Golden Gloves match in Brentwood, Long Island, a 24-year-old competitor ended up in the hospital after suffering a traumatic head injury during a fight. Angelo Piccirillo of Astoria, Queens, was rushed to Southside hospital, where doctors predict he has a 70 to 80 percent chance of making a full recovery.
Ferrar said the chance of an injury is always there, but that he tries not to think about it once he steps into the ring.
“I don’t imagine myself getting hurt,” he said. “That’s why I pray to God everyday.”
Ferrer’s 25-year-old cousin, Luis Almanzar of Williamsburg, was ringside to cheer his little cousin on. He loves everything about boxing, he said, and has been coming to Golden Glove matches for years—his older brother is a two-time champion. The benefits of the sport outweigh the grueling training and the risk of injuries, he said.
“You don’t have a lot of options when you’re growing up where I grew up,” Almanzar said. “It’s the exposure it gets you, and the experience.”

It certainly gets you exposure. Some of the biggest names in boxing—including Floyd Patterson, Jose Torres and Sugar Ray Robinson—were once Golden Gloves champs.
Acevedo, who now runs the show, said he also took part in the competition back in the 1970s.
“It helped me out,” he said. “It kept me out of trouble, kept me off the streets.”
Almanzar said that for he and his cousin, boxing is more than just a hobby.
“There’s a truth to it,” he said. “Just two people in the ring.”

Women Boxers will also participate in the Golden Gloves Semi-Finals.

Boxer Jenah Duea, 26

Boxer Grace Claudio, 19

Boxer Grace Claudio, 19


The Coach Weights In:

Coach Julio Albino “Mr. Salinas”