Pugilists Star At 82nd Golden Gloves
A tournament that produced and launched the careers of champions: Emile Griffith, Jose Torres, Floyd Patterson, Howard Davis, Riddick Bowe and Mark Breland, Golden Gloves champion and former welterweight champion
The best of the best of the Golden Glove tournament of 2009 settled a score for two nights at the 82nd Daily News Annual Golden Gloves Championship Finals, held at WAMU Theater at Madison Square Garden.
The oldest and largest amateur boxing tournament in the world came to a thrilling halt, after three months traipsing through five boroughs and the tri-state area, last week.
A tournament that produced and launched the careers of champions: Emile Griffith, Jose Torres, Floyd Patterson, Howard Davis, Riddick Bowe and Mark Breland, who was given a special tribute for his accomplishments as a Golden Gloves champion, former Olympic Gold medalist and former welterweight champion.
Also in attendance were: legendary Jake LaMotta; 2008 U.S. Olympian Sadam Ali; IBF cruiserweight champion Tomask Adamek; and heavyweight “Fast” Eddie Chambers.
It was a special night but more sanguine for David Thompson, 28 of Brotherhood BC Gym, who lives in Brooklyn and works with the mentally and physically challenged.
He stood away from the crowd, from the glitter of center stage, where in the dark his lilt voice expressed his winning the 178-pound open division Golden Glove Championship the night before.
“It’s like a dream that you can never wake up from,” he said and added that he went home late at night, sat on his couch and asked himself, “Did I just win the Golden Gloves?”
He then took the time to reflect philosophically and concluded, “I just won the Golden Gloves—and once you win the Golden Gloves, it’s with you - it’s can’t be taken away from you.”
Leland Hardy, scholar, pro boxer, sports agent, and Wall Street maverick was at the fights last Friday night and commented on the thoughts and emotions of the participants of the tournament.
“You have to understand the road that each of these kids had traveled,” Hardy said. “The dream is making it to the Garden, so every person here, no matter whether they win silver or gold – they deserve a great deal of credit to making it to the Garden.”
Hardy won the Pennsylvania State Heavyweight Championship in 1983, which led to his representing the state at the National Golden Gloves Championships and earning a birth at the Eastern Olympic Trials for a spot on the 1984 U.S. Los Angeles Olympic Team.
Although he didn’t make the Olympics, he’s the only graduate of Wharton School of Business to curtail his business degree for a career in boxing. He also shared and highlighted the skills he learned in the ring and how he applied them to his successful career.
“The key skills, most transferable, the most important ones would be infinitesimal fortitude; self-reliance; resolve; ability to come back after disappointment; having a sense of optimism; the ability to plan and strategies; the ability to prepare because in boxing, you’re part of the square-circle, in front of thousands of people in the center of New York City as a Golden Glover,” he added, “ So you better be prepared for what you’re about to encounter.”
The crowd was electrified and the action thrilling as boxers, such as Trevis Hall of Cops N Kids gym whipped them into frenzy.
Hall is a student and lives in Far Rockaway, Queens. He won his first Golden Glove tournament 125-pounds novice division and has big plans.
“I gotta win the open class next year and go down to the nationals and do my thing to represent my country of Guyana in the Olympics,” he said after the match. “So I’m going to work hard and try to do everything that I can to make it back.”
Another boxer to watch for next year’s tournament is Pedro Sosa, 16-years old of Cops N Kids gym. Sosa, a sophomore at Washington Irving H.S. in the Bronx, won the national champion and picked apart 20-year old Jeremy Fiorentino to win the 141-pounds open division.
“This feels great!” said Sosa. “It was a good fight in a historic arena,” he said, and added about his future; “Two more Golden Gloves tournaments and I’ll go pro.”
Winner or loser, each one of these boxers went through rigorous training and passed the two mandatory drug tests and had accomplished something in their lives that should inspire them for the next phase of their lives; whether it’s the Olympics, professional boxing, academics or a career as a civil servant.
It doesn’t matter because no one can take away that drive to succeed despite the odds that may be against them.
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