Every year the world of amateur boxing across the US anxiously awaits for the annual Golden Gloves tournament. And for Oregon, the wait is about to end!
The Golden Gloves will take place this coming February 14th and 15th at the Salem Armory in Salem, and to give us some insight about what the Golden Gloves is all about, OSN talked to Dan Dunn, Director at Oregon Golden Gloves.
Oregon Sports News: Thank you for giving us this time to learn about the Oregon Golden Gloves! What can you tell us about the competition overall?
Dan Dunn: Well, popularity comes and goes in athletics and in boxing too. However, the Golden Gloves is by far one of the most recognized events in boxing. It has been around since 1910.
Every state puts on a tournament and they go to their region one as well. It all depends on the size of the state. For example, NY has their own region because of the size. Oregon’s area goes from south of Kelso to south and from north of Kelso they go to Washington.
OSN: Events of this magnitude often require a lot of human and financial resources. How does it all work?
Dan: We do several fundraising events throughout the year. No one makes any money here; it all goes back to the Oregon Golden Gloves.
Me and my wife personally donate the trophies. We donate the awards and jackets the winners get. I manage different events and run pro-promotions throughout the year. But the Golden Gloves, it’s a big deal.
OSN: How do you manage getting everything done?
Dan: It really isn’t too bad. The good thing is that everyone is willing to help. People go out of their way to help out when you ask.
OSN: Tell me about the history of the Oregon Golden Gloves leadership. How did you end up in this role?
Dan: Well, Richard Miller did it for about ten years in Bend. He kept it alive, kept the program, which is huge. I’m in my third year, trying to build it more. As far as how I ended up in this position, it happened while we were at the Ringside Championship and the President of US boxing and members asked to meet to talk. He said ‘here take a Corona, sit down.’ I knew then something was up and I was right because right after that they asked me if I wanted to run the program. I was for sure surprised so I asked them to give me a week or two so I could talk to my wife. After talking to my wife I said, “sure I will give it a go.”
OSN: How has the experience been for you?
Dan: You know, it’s been a joy. Overly legit! But I can see why there’s a 10-year kind of standard for it.
OSN: I understand there is a new development with the participating age groups for the Golden Gloves. Could you tell me a little bit about that?
Dan: Yes… Three years ago it used to be that 17 years old could compete as adults. And decades before it was 16 and up. It has varied throughout the years. If you talk to some of those coaches who fought 30 years ago, they will tell you they fought at that age. Of course, as always, it depends on the athlete but with time it changed and they moved it up to 18 and older only.
When that happened it created a weird spot. If the 17 years old can’t do Silver and can’t do Golden until they are 18, that left them in an odd spot in the national scene. So I started to think, what can we do about that? What if we give something to the 16-17 years old bracket to give them a taste of something. Everyone was excited. It was really, really good.
I started getting phone calls from different teams, even Washington teams, saying that if we put that age group in they would come and support. I knew that if I put some of those kids we would get the support. As far as the senior division we are looking at holding an event on June 26th – 28th. We have the venue all set. It even looks like we have a sponsor as well.
But we have other developments as well. The Golden Gloves Alumni.
One thing that I kept thinking about was “How can we keep this going without being just a one-person show?” Another thing I kept thinking about was how can we get the Alumni involved?
A while back we held an event where we got all the former champions to come back together, took some photos, etc. There are a lot of guys who were champions and if they won they can be Oregon Golden Gloves Alumni, so I knew we could get them involved, so we did, and they are!
And it’s really working. For example, we were having a discussion about finding a way to get trophies and jackets for the event and one of the alumni stood up and said: “I will cover the jackets!”
OSN: How many boxers do you anticipate participating this year?
Dan: We have about 64 athletes for now. Some may or may not show up.
OSN: I understand a lot of volunteers make this event happen. What can you tell us about that group?
Dan: It really is a group effort. We have the Church Street Boxing group of people who will help us set up. The Alumni will host some of the tables. The hardest thing is finding volunteers for the teardown and to clean up. It’s kind of like a pro show; it’s the rush of getting in and out all in one day.
OSN: Sounds amazing! With that said, tell me what or who we should be looking for this weekend. Who are the boxers to keep an eye on?
Dan: There are a few phenomenal boxers out there. We have Pat Duran at 106 lbs super skilled. Isidro Acosta in Portland. I have no doubt that with his intensity and attitude he will be a world champion someday. We have Santiago Franco from Rip City at 178 lbs. He is a kid who hasn’t grown all the way yet. I see him in the future being a heavyweight. He will be a force for sure!
There were a lot of good seniors last year, but they all went pro! So they’re not coming back.
OSN: What about clubs? Which one do you think has a little bit of everything to bring and will stand out?
Dan: RipCity with all the youth and seniors in the tournament. Coronado Boxing team is also bringing some great talent and Troy Wohosky from Medford is bringing a good team.
OSN: How about details for this event?
Dan: The location is at the Salem Armory. If you look for information about the 2020 Golden Gloves you will see it everywhere: Facebook, website, etc.
OSN: How about tickets?
Dan: General admission $20, Floor seating $30, VIP $50 We also have corporate tables that sit six people for $250. It is going to be a lot of fun!
Food vendors are really good! It’s a family-friendly event. There will be alcohol for sale but we will keep that separate as it has to be checked. But it is definitely a family-friendly event.
Kids will be competing so no gambling. But we will have t-shirts and our food vendors are South P Pizza and Marjory’s Hamburgers!
Overall it looks like this weekend won’t belong to only the usual Valentine’s festivities and so on as the Oregon Golden Gloves will be at our state capitol for two nights in a row. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind event, this might be the one thing to show up for!