Climbing into a real boxing ring is a far cry from watching a fight in a movie — especially the beloved “Rocky” movies that inspire the Lancaster boxers heading to Philadelphia, Saturday to compete in the regional championships at the 2019 Frank Cariello Golden Gloves tournament.
Jeffrey Marshall (5-0) ran the “Rocky” stairs after his first win. Frank Padilla (3-3) has the mandatory picture of himself with the Rocky statue.
But, in boxing, there is no guarantee of a Hollywood ending, especially when facing Philly fighters in their hometown.
This weekend, Marshall and Padilla will face boxers who train at Front Street Gym in Philadelphia. That is the same gym where the character Adonis Creed trained in “Creed.”
That doesn’t rattle Padilla, who will face Juan Marrero (record unknown) in a 132-pound Novice match.
“I’m not nervous at all,” Padilla said. “I enjoy fighting, enjoy the sport.”
He’s been training, he said, for moments like this where he can showcase his skills in front of sports fans.
Padilla trains under coach Jinji Martinez, at Jinji Boxing Club.
Marshall, also of Jinji’s, has fought in Philly before. It feels “the same as everywhere,” he said.
For his 141-pound battle with Jose Rivera (record unknown), he plans to “Do what’s working — stay focused, study my YouTube videos and listen to my coach.”
YouTube videos are the new tapes of boxing.
In Marshall’s case, though, he’s not studying his opponent. Instead, he watches the greats so he can keep their moves in his head while in the ring. A southpaw, he focuses on champs like Marvin Hagler (62-3), who was the undisputed middleweight champion from 1980 to 1987.
The third boxer from Lancaster, Jeremiah Holland (2-0), began training at Finefrock & Stumpf Golden Gloves Center because of the “Rocky” series.
Despite an official winning record, Holland has yet to compete. He’s been on the bout sheet for two Golden Gloves fights and, in both cases, got a walkover.
A former varsity wrestler at McCaskey, Holland said it was “kind of weird” to show up at an event and have no one to fight.
“It wasn’t like that for wrestling because you always had backups,” he said.
Still trying to stay motivated, he shows up at the gym to box and, like Marshall, watches videos of the pros.
Holland is scheduled to open the evening in a sub-novice, 141-pound bout against Dominique Green (record unknown), who trains at Harrowgate Boxing Club.
The regional championships of the 2019 Pennsylvania Golden Gloves tournament will be held at 2300 Arena, 2300 S. Swanson St., Philadelphia. Doors open at 6 p.m. and fights begin at 7 p.m. General Admission tickets are $25 at the door.