The Northern California Golden Gloves will be held for the 76th time this weekend at Kezar Pavilion, one year removed from a controversy that drove a wedge into the Bay Area boxing community.
Last year, two other tournaments based in San Francisco billed themselves as Golden Gloves event, although they were not sanctioned by the official Golden Gloves organization, a nonprofit group with 31 affiliations across the country.
After the confusion of last year, Golden Gloves sued to protect that name. The suit was settled and this year the only boxing event billed as a Golden Gloves tournament will be the one recognized by the national body.
“This Golden Gloves is a non-profit organization completely sponsored by unions,” Northern California Golden Gloves president Michael Munoz said. “We’re not trying to promote anything or make any money off this event.”
Much like the San Francisco Championships held two weeks earlier at the Bill Graham Civic Center (which initially billed itself as an Olympic qualifier, but was forced to abandon that moniker by USA Boxing), the Golden Gloves is a start of a lengthy journey that could eventually lead to an Olympic dream.
The Golden Gloves, however, does not mention itself as an Olympic qualifier because the boxers competing in the open division would have to advance from four more events (state, regionals and nationals under Golden Gloves and then the U.S. Championships) simply to become eligible for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Although they still have a long road ahead, there are plenty of boxers competing in this year’s event that we might see in Beijing in 2008.
Six champs from last year’s Golden Gloves return, including 132-pounder Stan Martyniouk of Antelope and 152-pounder Michael Ortega of Sacramento.
San Francisco boasts a couple of local hopefuls, most notably Hunters Point native Richard Hargraves, who finished second in the 2006 Golden Gloves at 165 pounds.
Without the competition and confusion of last year’s proceedings, Munoz is expecting a high turnout for this year’s event.
“We’ve already got 60 boxers signed up and we could have as much as 100 by the start of the tournament,” said Munoz. “I think the fans are going to know this time that this is the real event, and that there are plenty of great boxers to watch who will put on some exciting fights.”
WHEN: Through Sunday
WHERE: Kezar Pavilion
SCHEDULE: Bouts begin at 6:30 p.m. each day
MORE INFO: www.calgoldengloves-248.com