The road to the 2013 Golden Gloves for local amateur boxers begins tonight with the 65th annual Tacoma Golden Gloves Boxing Championships.
Second nationally only to the New York tournament for longevity, the Tacoma Golden Gloves will hold preliminary bouts today at the Al Davies Boys and Girls Club, while finals will be contested Saturday at the University of Puget Sound Fieldhouse.
Bouts begin at 7 p.m. both nights.
A total of 42 competitors have been entered into the tournament, which consists of 10 weight divisions, ranging from 108 pounds to the 201-plus pounds.
The Tacoma Boxing Club, which has won six consecutive team titles and 26 overall crowns since 1982, will once again be well-represented with 11 fighters – including defending champions Jerrell Barbour (132 pounds) and Nick Jefferson (141), as well as Marquice Weston, a two-time recipient (2010-11) of the Golden Boy, which is given annually to the tournament’s outstanding boxer.
Barbour, a 2009 Stadium High School graduate, will look to win his sixth local title. In addition to winning last year’s 132-pound tournament, he also captured titles at 123 pounds (2010), 125 (2009) and 119 (2007-08).
The 20-year-old Jefferson, a graduate of Rogers High School in Puyallup, posted consecutive championships in the 132-pound division (2010-11) before successfully moving up to 141 last year.
The 6-foot-6 Weston, a Foss grad, won his first 178-pound title in 2008 then dominated the classification by posting back-to-back division titles in 2010 and 2011.
Tacoma champions advance to the West Regional tournament in April in Las Vegas with the national tournament being held in Salt Lake City in May.
Barbour and Weston won West Regional Golden Gloves championships in 2011 before moving on to the national tournament.
Former Golden Gloves champion Emmett Linton, Jr. and Tom McDonough, a veteran boxing judge from Tacoma, will each be honored Saturday by the Tacoma Athletic Commission.
Linton, who will be inducted into the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame, won four consecutive amateur titles in Tacoma between 1987 and 1990 before moving on to a professional career where he posted 35 victories while claiming the World Boxing Union and International Boxing Association’s light-middleweight championships.
Tickets for Saturday’s finals are $16 for general admission and $28 for floor seating and can be purchased at the UPS box office, 253-879-3236, or at the door.