Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Ring 'em up Local boxers ready for Golden Gloves
BY JEFF YOUNG, Assistant Sports Editor
Ask Barry Stumpf what he likes most about training young boxers at the Finefrock and Stumpf Golden Gloves Center on East Liberty Street, and don't be surprised if he says the size of the ring.
More specifically, the small size of the ring.
"We have a very small ring, so nobody's used to running in there,'' Stumpf said Tuesday. "There's nowhere to go.''
Stumpf hopes their time spent in that cozy venue will work to the advantage of his guys on Saturday night, when the opening round of the Central Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Tournament is contested at Lancaster Catholic High School.
Among the 36 entries scheduled to compete, beginning at 7:30 p.m., are nine Lancaster area boxers. Six of them are under the guidance of Stumpf, Lancaster's well-known trainer and USA Olympic Certified Level IV coach.
"We have a green group, but we have a rough group,'' Stumpf said. "There's a lot of skill there. It's a young team, but it's definitely a well-conditioned team.''
Winners in Saturday's 18-match card will advance to the second round of the four-week tournament, slated for March 15 at the Cross Keys Motor Inn in New Oxford.
Round Three is set for March 22, at a site to be announced, followed by the title round April 12 at Marian High School in Tamaqua.
The ultimate goal, of course, is a national Golden Gloves championship. That's what Harold Lopez Jr. has in mind, but he understands that it all starts here.
"The key is not to listen to the crowd,'' said Lopez, a 13-year-old Reynolds Middle School student who made it all the way to the Junior Golden Gloves national finals a year ago.
"Listen to my corner, to what they tell me during the fight,'' Lopez added. "The main thing is to establish my jab. You've got to be fast and sharp.''
Lopez (11-5), ranked No. 8 nationally by USA Boxing at 75 pounds, is the most credentialed of Stumpf's fighters. "He's a young kid,'' Stumpf said, "but he's on point.''
Also representing the Finefrock and Stumpf Center are Angel DeJesus, 19, at 141 pounds; Emmanuel Diaz, 20, at 152; Mark Hughs, 19, at 165; Shaquille Stanley, 18, at 178; and Jorrell Owens (8-1), at super heavyweight. All are entered as Novice fighters, meaning they have less than 10 bouts' worth of experience.
Three other local athletes are scheduled to box as well. They are Antonio Collazo (108 Open) and Kevin Santiago (152) of the New Era Boxing Club, and unattached Brandon Haddad (138 Cadet). Collazo and Santiago are Novice entries, while Haddad won a state intermediate title in 2011.
Stumpf, who said this is Lancaster's 31st straight year of hosting the Central Pennsylvania tournament, allows that it's not the ideal scenario for less seasoned fighters. However, he expects his charges to benefit from their practice time with another of his proteges, Lancaster pro Rolando Chinea.
"I have confidence in these guys,'' he said. "They've held their own with some rough guys. I don't have any weak chins.''
Other highlights of Saturday's program include this year's inductions into the Central Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame.
This year's incoming class includes former Golden Gloves champions Ronnie Flick, Shannon Anderson, Lenny Pelsinski, Denise Bowers, Polo Garcia and (posthumously) Johnny Horn.
Also slated for recognition is Frank Cariello, who oversees the state tournament and will be named Golden Gloves Man of the Year.
Among the special guests in attendance will be former undisputed world heavyweight champion and 1988 Olympic medalist Riddick Bowe.
Bowe, a Brooklyn native and four-time Golden Gloves champion, will promote his outreach to young adults, juveniles and at-risk women.
Ticket prices are $20 for general admission and $30 for ringside seating. They may be purchased at the Golden Gloves Center, 341 E. Liberty St.; Captain Gus's Steak Shop, 600 W. Orange St.; Cibo Pizza, 1202 Lititz Pike; Brewers Outlet, Manor Shopping Center; and House of Pizza, 23 W. Chestnut St.
Doors at Lancaster Catholic open at 6:30 p.m.