Sturm still a no-show as boxer's manager, promoter continue feuding

SIDELINES

September 20, 1992|By Pat O'Malley

It was a great boxing show Thursday night at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie with only one boxer missing.

No, I'm not talking about Victor Davis, who was to fight the main event, but came up lame and gave way to his capable brother, Demitrius.

Chuck Sturm was missing.

It's questionable if the most popular boxer to ever fight in Anne Arundel County will appear here again.

This weekend Sturm, a former state wrestling champion at Old Mill and current Glen Burnie resident, was fighting in Philadelphia and has scheduled appearances in Baltimore and Pikesville.

Sturm, a 135-pound lightweight known as the "Pit Bull," returned to the ring June 25 at Michael's after a near two-year absence due to injuries.

The return was rather uneventful even though Sturm did win by a unanimous decision. The show with Sturm as the headliner did not draw well.

As a result, the $1,750 purse paid to Sturm by the Josh Hall-Victoria Savaliski Round One Promotions spurred a feud between the promoters and Sturm's manager/trainer Frank Hector Gilbert.

It's gotten so intense that the two ex-boxers nearly became the main event before being separated by peacemakers at a recent amateur show at Michael's.

Hall claims that Gilbert wants more money and is taking Sturm on the road to get it. The Point Pleasant promoter/matchmaker insists that Gilbert turned down a return engagement for Thursday night's show and hinted that Sturm would not fight in Glen Burnie again.

In the July 26 "Sidelines" column, Hall was quoted as saying that Gilbert told him "Chuck Sturm will never fight again in Glen

Burnie." Gilbert vehemently denies that.

"The honest factual answer is -- we weren't asked," Gilbert told me in a letter.

"All the verbal smoke screens that you and the promoter keep releasing in your one-sided column can not deny that fact. There is nothing more enjoyable for our club [Loch Raven gym in Baltimore] or any other club to fight before the hometown fans.

"It's something we've always looked forward to and still do. We will be back."

But when?

That's what the local boxing faithful want to know, because the fans love Sturm.

"If you strip away all the verbal BS you'll get right to the bottom line -- purse money," said Gilbert.

Hall says Gilbert first wanted a $2,500 purse for Sturm's ring return in June, but settled for $1,750.

"He demanded to see the books to see exactly what our expenses were going to be," said Hall. "And after he looked, he realized that $2,500 was too much to ask and came down to $1,750. His whole attitude didn't sit well with me."

The pity of it all is that Sturm, who loves to fight in his home county, is caught in the middle of two fierce competitors.

Gilbert and Hall each hail from the old school of hard knocks, have tempers and are their own men. Each has strong convictions, and when they think they are right, it's pretty hard to change their minds.

Simply put, Hall and Gilbert are stubborn. But love of the pugilistic sport is their bond, and I predict we will see them back together soon.

They both love the sport and the people they represent so much that eventually they will be willing to swallow a little pride and bring Sturm back home.

The fact that Gilbert wrote "we will be back," tells me a truce is in order for the sake of pro boxing in Anne Arundel County.

And Hall has said that he wants Sturm but can afford only so much. You have to consider that Hall has been willing to sacrifice a lot to keep boxing alive in Glen Burnie. His losses easily outnumber his profits, yet he perseveres for the love of the game.

At first impression, Hall's rough exterior conceals the real man here. Hall is a very intelligent businessman who knows as much about boxing as anyone you will ever meet.

He is more than smart enough to know that Sturm is a drawing card and will have him back in the near future. This feud might go the distance, if it already hasn't, but come the final round, there will be a draw in the Hall-Gilbert main event.

That draw will bring Chuck Sturm home.

*

On Thursday, Oct. 15, Jeff Novotny's Crofton Boxing Center is staging an amateur card at Michael's. Novotny organized the very successful and crowd-pleasing Maryland State Games at Michael's back in August.

NB Ringside tickets are only $10, and general admission is $5 for

the Oct. 15 show.

"We will soon release the names of the boxers for that show," said Novotny.

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