Golden Gloves boxing returns to Western Massachusetts
SPRINGFIELD – Golden Gloves boxing will return to Western Massachusetts and the MassMutual Center will be the location for four nights of boxing.
Springfield Police Officer Dean Fay, the director of Western New England Golden Gloves, made the announcement on Dec. 12 at the MassMutual Center.
Mayor Domenic Sarno said the return of the Golden Gloves program and the location of the fights is “a big deal.”
Sarno had a boxing program when he was director of the South End Community Center. He said the sport teaches young people “character.”
The preliminaries will be Jan. 9, 2015, followed by the quarterfinals on Jan. 16, 2015, the semifinals on Jan. 23, 2015 and the finals on Feb. 7, 2015. All weigh-ins begin at 5 p.m. with the first bout at 7 p.m.
Fay noted that Golden Gloves boxing had been an institution locally from 1957 to 2003 in Holyoke under the supervision of the late Nick Cosmos at the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club. Among the amateur boxers to fight in the program were Mike Tyson, Marlon “The Magic Man” Starling and John “Ice Man” Skully, Fay noted.
“Sadly, in 2003, Nick Cosmos passed away leaving the Golden Gloves without leadership or direction,” Fay said.
The Western Massachusetts area, including Worcester, was merged with the entire state of Connecticut for a new region. It was put up to bid, and a Connecticut organization brought the program south, Fay said. In 2010 the program was brought back to the area where the matches were conducted at the Log Cabin in Holyoke for two years.
Fay and his organization have recently secured the permanent rights to the program and are bringing it to the MassMutual Center.
The winners of the Western New England Golden Gloves tournament will then fight in the New England contest in Lowell and those winners will then represent the region in the national bouts in Las Vegas, NV, Fay explained.
Fay noted that volunteers run the organization.
The ages for the boxers is between 17 and 35, Fay told Reminder Publications
and he expects that between 150 to 200 fighters will sign up for the tournament. He explained the actual number would be less as the fighters must make weight requirements and a medical inspection before being allowed to participate.
Police Commissioner John Barbieri congratulated Fay for his efforts as youth boxing programs has been shown as a way to make urban neighborhoods a “key component to making our community a safer place to live.”
Tickets range in price from $15 for general admission to $35 for ringside. There is a season ticket for all of the fights at $60.
The organization is seeking sponsorships with Champ Law already committed to supporting the program.
For more information, go to www.wneboxing.com/wne-golden-gloves.html