Elon DeJesus and Joe Reed are friends who haven't been on speaking terms for about a few weeks.
That will change Sunday once the two amateur boxers' 123-pound fight for the open New York State Golden Gloves championship has concluded.
The two Western New Yorkers are among the finalists vying for state Golden Gloves titles in open, novice and sub-novice division weight classes during the fight card that starts at 3 p.m. at the Buffalo RiverWorks. Tickets can be purchased at the door, which opens at 2:30 p.m.
DeJesus of Dunkirk and Reed of Buffalo are quite familiar with each other, and not just because they traveled together last summer to Missouri to participate in the Ringside Championship Tournament. Sunday marks the third straight year the two will battle for the coveted Golden Gloves championship and the berth into the national tournament next month in Salt Lake City.
Reed won the bout and crown in 2016, but DeJesus gained a measure of revenge in earning the triumph in the state final last year.
DeJesus said the two have been in all-business mode since the March 18 tournament semifinals, when they realized they would have to go through each other once again for the right to fight at nationals.
"Preparing for a fight against (Reed), I know it's going to be a physical fight," said DeJesus, who lost in the National Golden Gloves quarterfinals last spring but bounced back to triumph at 123 at the Ringside World Championships over the summer. "I just have to prepare myself to throw a lot of punches, put pressure in the pocket. The judges they want to see aggression and ring generalship. … Whoever is in the middle of the ring and forcing the action …"
Has the best chance of winning.
DeJesus and Reed have met roughly five or six times.
DeJesus' second fight was their first meeting. They went from simple adversaries to rivals who respected each other to forging a friendship.
When both went to the Ringside Championships over the summer, they fought in separate weight classes. Reed moved up to 132 and lost in the semifinals.
What should folks expect Sunday?
"It's going to be a close fight," New York State Golden Gloves President Don Patterson said. "They're both skilled boxers and aggressive as well. They put on a really good fight."
"The crowd usually gets into it," DeJesus said. "It's a show for everybody."
Other locals hoping to win open division titles and earn spots at nationals include Samir Alowbali. Last year's sub-novice 123-pound champion who fights out of the Northwest Buffalo Community Center is now in the open-class 114. He faces Jonathan Rodriguez of Albany.
Geffred Nygayot, of Buffalo, looks to defend his 132-pound title when he faces Shamar Lutchman of Syracuse.
At 178, Niagara Falls' Elijah Austin of Casal's Boxing is a first-time finalist and faces multi-time state champion Lawrence King of Rochester. King lost in the national final two years ago. At super heavyweight, Nolan Smith of Niagara Falls meets Davond Carter.
There are also two women's fights on the card with Casey Costanza of Niagara Falls and Shauna Weicrick of Tonawanda meeting for the 141-pound open title.
Wendy Casey, a past national and world champion, is also scheduled to fight. The UB Boxing Club product takes on Ontario amateur champion Kylie Angel at 132 pounds in a match bout.