Amateur boxers showcased their skills at the 90th annual Daily News Golden Gloves competition at Glen Cove High School’s gymnasium on March 23. Spectators in the crowded bleachers cheered for the boxers as they each fought three rounds. Hosted by the Howard Davis Jr. Glen Cove Boxing Club, amateurs from all over New York boxed for the spirit of competition and to advance in their respective careers.
“It produces talent, it explores talent, and it uncovers talent which is why we’re here,” said two-time world boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi, who sat ringside during the competition.
Malignaggi announced his retirement from boxing earlier this month but he was nostalgic when he saw the amateurs trading blows in the ring. His first amateur fight was at the Golden Gloves competition in 1998. With boxers ranging from 18 to 30 in this competition, he said you never know where these fighters will wind up.
“It’s something special seeing everybody fight their hearts out for the pure love of the sport,” he said. “There’s a gleam in everybody’s eye.”
Mike “Machine Gun” Graziose, vice president and trainer for the boxing club in Glen Cove, fought in a friendly, three round exhibition match to open the night. His involvement with the club began two years ago because he believed it was necessary to “help out the youth and help the community to bring boxing back to Glen Cove.”
“I want people to realize that this is for our town, our city and everybody else in this community,” Graziose added. “With more effort and more help, we can make this an even bigger event next year.”
The boxing club was renamed last July after the late Howard Davis Jr., an Olympic gold medalist in boxing who was born and raised in Glen Cove. “Howard would have been very proud of this event tonight,” said Mayor Reggie Spinello. “This is a terrific event and it’s great to see that everyone supports it.”
Spinello also said that while there is no prize money involved, the “thrill of victory” makes this a great competition for youth boxing.
Dan Cox, president of the Glen Cove Recreation Commission, said this is one of the many “outstanding” programs that the recreation department brings to the community. He said that not only does this event draw people from their own community, it also invites people from out of town as well. “These are the kinds of things that we want to do for our community to generate interest through the recreational department and facilities of Glen Cove,” Cox said. “We have lots of programs that are for our whole community and for the surrounding regions.”
Glen Cove also hosted this event in 2015. Darcy Belyea, treasurer for the boxing club and the director of parks and recreation for the city, said she wants to continue hosting this event because it benefits both the club and the community. The community’s strong boxing background makes this event even more unique for their club, she reasoned. “We have a history here so we want to keep that tradition going and give the young people something to look forward to,” she said.