Young Boxers' Big Night

Baltimore's Best Boxing Bash Saturday brings together more than 40 boxers

February 15, 2007|By Christina Lee | Christina Lee,Sun Reporter

In 15 matchups, the city's elite amateur boxers will face off against the best of the District of Columbia, Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey, adding up to one huge bash on Saturday.

Baltimore's Best Boxing Bash, hosted by the Upton Boxing Facility, starts at 7 p.m. Saturday. More than 40 boxers, ranging from ages 8 to adult, are registered, said Portia Harris, associate director of the city's Department of Recreation and Parks.

Angelo Ward, 19, began entering tournaments three years ago and has gained a lot of prestige as last year's Golden Glove Regional Champion and Boxer of the Year. Along the way, Ward has also gained a lot of friends, whom he looks forward to seeing at the Boxing Bash.

"Everybody can relate to each other," he said. "We all want a championship belt."

With his experience in the ring, Ward will also be trying to motivate other competitors in the gym.

"When I show them different punches and moves in the ring, they think, `Oh yeah, I know that is going to work, because Angelo just showed me that,'" he said.

Other boxers representing the city include the Silver Gloves National Champions of 2004 and 2006: Ramone Manley, 14; and Gervonta Davis, 12, respectively.

The tournament is also an easy way for the coaches to inspire their students. "I'm just excited to give the kids something to look forward to," said Mack Allison, a coach at the Upton facility.

He and fellow coach Calvin Ford won championship titles last year, in karate and boxing, respectively. They do all they can to encourage the kids.

"The kids went crazy," Allison said. "They started training even harder then."

To Harris, Allison's successes as both coach and athlete should be considered "a testament to his dedication, commitment and discipline."

The coaches teach more than 30 kids and see up to 15 on any given day, Allison said. These kids are participating in the facility's adolescent boxing program, which was housed in the Herring Run Recreation Center until 2002.

This tournament will be the first one hosted by the facility since its yearlong $400,000 renovation.

"Before, it was just a ring and a gym," Harris said. Now, however, with the addition of a computer lab, weight room, fitness center, locker rooms and showers, more tournaments like this should be coming.

"We hope to have at least three tournaments a year now, maybe the Junior Olympics or the Silver Gloves," Harris said.

Tickets are $5-$10. The tournament starts at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Upton Boxing Facility is at 1901 Pennsylvania Ave. For more information, call 443-984-2588 or 410-396-7900.

christina.lee@baltsun.com

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