Rich Mancuso reports on the New York Daily News Golden Gloves and says "There was the disappointment for the losers, elation for the winners, and recognition for all of the 62 men and women boxers who competed Thursday and Friday evening."  

NEW YORK – No matter how many times they win a NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Golden Gloves title the fighters always say there is always room for one more pair to go with others. The 81st prestigious and most recognized amateur boxing tournament which concluded at the WAMY Theatre at Madison Square Garden last week had the usual outcomes.


There was the disappointment for the losers, elation for the winners, and recognition for all of the 62 men and women boxers who competed Thursday and Friday evening. Some of the best who have been there – the alumni, who have shared the glory of having their hands raised, were there.


At ringside Aaron Davis with his two pairs of gold, Iran Barkley with three, Dennis Milton with five, and Juan LaPorte with three; all sharing moments and watching the future of boxing on display. Later they would get in the ring with more of the former champions who had their hands raised and the gold put on them over the years.


Whether it was in the main arena of the Garden, known as “The Mecca” of boxing, or in the adjacent theatre arena, it was the beginning of better things to come. “But you always wondered,” said Davis a former world welterweight champion, “If you didn’t stop your opponent would you get the decision?”


“That’s how amateur boxing is,” he said Judges at times, see a fight differently, just like it can be said in a professional ring. But indeed it can be that way more in the amateur world of boxing.  Davis and Barkley had their moments and wondered over the years if their hands would be raised.


And perhaps 19-year old Cristian Concepcion from the Bronx feels like Davis does. The three-time Golden Gloves 119-pound open champion was confident Friday evening after his four- round bout with 17-year old Schavez Peters, a returning novice champion.


The five ringside judges, appointed by USA Boxing and the Metro Amateur Boxing Federation, scored the fight against Concepcion. Holding at times and possibly not connecting enough caused the decision to go against him.  Number four around his neck was not his.


“My biggest goal was to end my amateur career as an undefeated fighter and walk out with four and not three,” said a disappointed Concepcion backstage. By then his trainer Pablo Rivera had left his fighter upstairs. “The judges took points, away from him for hitting after the bell,” said Rivera as to why the decision went to Peters.


“He did everything we worked on in the gym,” he said.  “He is going pro, a decision he made before the fight.”  Concepcion always had a goal of becoming a professional fighter


The first day he walked in the gym and met Rivera. The good part of being in this tournament, like the many others who have been there, is getting valuable experience. In the gym preparing, competing against unknown competition and getting your hand raised before the thousands that come to the Golden Gloves finals at the Garden.


Concepcion was defending his actions in the ring. Packing his equipment in a bag before leaving to meet family and friends as the final fights of the evening continued. “He was punching after the bell,” he said about his opponent. “Decisions like this happen in professional boxing.”


So Concepcion was not bitter about the decision. Boxing on all levels is subjective if you don’t stop your opponent. He did take two prior decisions before reaching the finals again and had those three amateur Golden Gloves titles, a champion already before tasting his first fight as a professional.


The plan now is for Concepcion to make his debut as a professional sometime next month as a bantamweight in an unknown 118-pound division.  The promoters now await him and Rivera will be in the corner. 


“Just thinking of doing my best and not the difference of professional and amateur boxing,” said Concepcion, “no golden gloves and no more headgear and being a complete fighter,”  


A complete fighter that evolves from this tournament over the years, whether it is one or four pairs of those prestigious golden gloves in their possession – something that can never be taken away from Concepcion…   



About Rich Mancuso

Established sports journalist and educator. Contact Rich at [email protected]