All but one of 2016 New York State Golden Gloves open division champions have entered this year’s event, which begins at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Buffalo RiverWorks, 359 Ganson St.
The state Golden Gloves Tournament, sponsored by Carubba Collision, will be held on four different days with the championship bouts slated for April 15 at Buffalo RiverWorks. More than 200 boxers from more than 30 clubs throughout the state will participate in the annual event.
State open division champions earn spots in the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions May 1-6 in Lafayette, La.
“This is going to be a very exciting year for amateur boxing in Buffalo,” state Golden Gloves President Don Patterson said.
The only returning champion expected to be in action in one of the more than 20 bouts tentatively scheduled for this Sunday is 165-pound champion Timi Akeredolu of Buffalo.
Last year’s tournament did produce a champion that made a push for Olympic glory. Brandon Lynch of Albany earned silver at the United States Olympic Trials but lost in an Olympics qualifying bout prior to the Rio Games last July.
The amateur tournament also offers opportunities for beginners and intermediate-level boxers a chance to test their skills in the ring and vie for state championships. That includes 20-year-old sub-novice Samir Alowbali of Buffalo, who is scheduled to fight in his first match Sunday.
“I’m happy, I’ve been training for a year,” said Alowbali, who started boxing at the Northwest Buffalo Community Center at the recommendation of his cousin. “I just wanted to start fighting. I had nothing going on.”
Prior to the start of Sunday’s card, there will be a special 10-count ceremony and moment of silence to honor Muhammad Ali and Jackie Donnelly, former Golden Gloves champions who recently passed away.
The tournament resumes March 4 at Northwest Buffalo Community Center with the semifinals night slated for March 18 at a still-to-be-determined venue.
Tickets for this Sunday’s card can be purchased in advance at Ticketfly.com or by going to Doris Records, Carubba Collision or Buffalo RiverWorks. Advance ticket prices start as low as $25. Prices start at $30 for those purchasing tickets at the door the day of the fights.