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Monday, June 17, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Bulls Boxers Strike Gold

For amateur boxers, the only gloves more important than those made of padding are those made of gold.

On March 18, the UB Boxing club competed in the Western New York Regional Golden Gloves Tournament. The club put nine fighters into the competition and came away with six victories.

Boxing coach Dean Eoannou was proud of how his fighters carried themselves both during their fights and after.

"[I think we did] really well," Eoannou said. "It was a great night. I thought our guys performed over-the-top. We were probably the best there. Our balance, our range, our combinations. [Our fighters] all fought with class. They didn't do anything out there that we would be embarrassed of or ashamed of."

The annual Golden Gloves Tournament is the main focus for the majority of the club's members. The experience level for the club is as diverse as its membership. The gym in the basement of Clark Hall is the practice facility for undergraduate, graduate, alumni, and local fighters.

The most impressive win of the night came from Lamont Miller in the 178-pound open match against Patrick Thompson of De Leon Boxing.

Miller got off to a very slow start in the fight and trailed heavily in punches after the first round. Some quick coaching from Eoannou during the break helped his fighter turn things around.

"Lamont was down a lot of punches in that first round," Eoannou said. "When he came back to the corner, we had a little talk and we fixed it in the second round and knocked him out."

Tim Thayer, a first-year medical student, defeated Seneca Nation's Adam Bryant in the 152-pound sub-novice match with a knockout early in the second round. Thayer began training as a boxer during his undergraduate career at Notre Dame, but began his amateur career when he came to Buffalo in August.

Thayer felt that the preparation that he received from training with Eoannou was the main reason that he was able to be successful in the most important fight of his career.

"I felt really prepared [going into the fight]," Thayer said. "In my first week here, I started working with Dean. He saw something in me right away and this was the goal. It's what we work toward down here, the Golden Gloves. It's our playoffs, our national championship."

Not all of the boxers in the club are UB students. One of these fighters is 24-year-old Jack Grady. Even though he is not a student of the university, he could not have represented UB any better during his 3-0 decision defeat of Roc Boxing's Mike Shiffhauer in the 141-pound sub-novice division.

Grady, who lost his father to brain cancer when he was 13 years old, loves being able to focus himself in the ring. When he is boxing, he fights not only for himself, but for his family.

"I was nervous five minutes before the fight, but when I walked up into the ring, all my nerves went away," Grady said. "The bell rings, I bite down, and I fight. It's something I love to do. Getting the Golden Gloves…is the next step and it means a lot to me and my family. It would mean a lot to my dad, too. He's here in spirit, and I know he's watching, so I do it for him."

This tournament was not the first major award for some of the winners. John Evangelista, who won his 165-pound open match against Eric Plumeri in a 3-0 decision, is a two-time N.Y. State champion. Paul Iya, who knocked out E'lon Nelson in the 178-pound novice fight, and Mike Christopher, who beat Mitchell Ford in a 3-0 decision in the 141-pound novice division, are both one-time state champions.

Most of the Golden Gloves fighters will compete again in the state championships on April 2. Miller will be the one exception.

This is because Miller's victory earned him more than just the Golden Gloves. The win that night earned him a state championship in his division and a spot in the national championships in Indianapolis, Ind. at the end of April.

A victory there would earn Miller a trip to London, England next summer as a member of the United States Olympic team.




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