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Tag: Arizona Golden Gloves 2015

Arizona Golden Gloves (2015)

by on Mar.15, 2015, under Guest Columnists

Female boxers at Arizona Golden Gloves

Female boxers at Arizona Golden Gloves

By Christopher James Shelton

The USA has diminished from one-time Olympics boxing powerhouse into being a world laughingstock by the 2012 Olympics. Golden Gloves champions include Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles, Michael Spinks, Sonny Liston, Michael Carbajal, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Oscar De La Hoya, Aaron Pryor, Thomas Hearns, Roy Jones Jr., Evander Holyfield and Muhammad Ali. The 2012 USA men’s Olympics boxing team won 0 gold, 0 silver and 0 bronze medals.

Golden Gloves nationally, and especially Phoenix, Arizona, was once an esteemed annual event. Areas like Chicago and New York City still care but the amateur tournament has been in decline for years. During the 1950’s there were no professional sports teams in Phoenix. There was only Arizona State University football and Golden Gloves tournament. From 1955-57, under head coach Dan Divine with Frank Kush as line coach the A.S.U. team compiled a 27-3-1 record. Golden Gloves was spread over several months covering the same fall season as the successful college football team. A photograph from Golden Gloves action was sure to make the front page of both local newspapers, Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette. The military played an important sponsorship role as the majority of Golden Gloves boxers were veterans. The population has grown from slightly over 100,000 in 1950 to more than 1,500,000 today. There is currently Phoenix professional sports teams including football, basketball (men and women), baseball and hockey. Arizona Golden Gloves has shrunk from several months to a long weekend.

The idea for my 15 years-old friend, Areti Sotiriou, boxing at Arizona Golden Gloves was seeing her at a Quinceanera last year. She was looking for something to be her specialty alone. She wanted to separate herself from family and friends. Areti is American of Greek-Mexican descent in a decidedly Latino family. She is constantly being hit by her male cousin, Tony, and after a bit punches him hard enough to temporarily back him off. Her punches sound painful. I mentioned boxing and Arizona Golden Gloves to her father, John, a high school friend. John asked Areti if she’d be interested in boxing with her reply, “I’d love to beat the shit out of girls, Dad.” I thought, “Now, that’s a boxer.” Areti had attended a couple of boxing events with her father and me, and seemed to enjoy herself. These were events sponsored or attended by Kelly Fenn, whose father was the “Godfather of Arizona Boxing.” Kelly loves Areti and brought her to the first row of a professional boxing event last year which left her speechless. Areti was finally able to utter, “You could see everything. You could see them sweat and bleed up close. The only thing I didn’t see that I wished was a knockout.” (continue reading…)

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