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Boxing: Area talent set for Golden Gloves semifinals

Friday, April 05, 2002

By Edward G. Robinson III, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

The Pittsburgh Golden Gloves amateur boxing tournament concludes Tuesday, with the finals at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

The semifinal round will be tonight and tomorrow at the Martial Arts Sports Complex in Bridgeville. There will be 12 fights each night, with bouts starting at 7:30 p.m. today and 7 p.m. tomorrow.

Boxers compete in Open, Novice and Junior Olympic divisions. Open is for boxers ages 17-34 with 10 or more amateur fights. Novice is for the same age boxers with less experience, and Junior Olympic is for boxers ages 11-16. Each division has weight classes ranging from 106 pounds to 201.

The Pennsylvania Golden Gloves season started a month ago. There are three Golden Gloves districts in the state -- eastern, central and western, which includes Pittsburgh and a small portion of Ohio.

Local winners in the open category will advance to the regional tournament April 12 in Lancaster. District champions will meet the Central district winners for spots in the state championships May 10 in Scranton.

The boxers are vying for a shot at the national Golden Gloves championships June 15-23 at Denver University in Denver, Colo.

In the past, women have been excluded from the national tournament, but with female boxing increasing in popularity, tournaments have been added. The women's National Golden Gloves Championships, which is open to all women despite results from local tournaments, will be Aug. 23-25 in Chicago.

Jimmy Cvetic, a local trainer and director of the Pittsburgh Golden Gloves, said the finals of the local event will be Downtown for the first time in 15 years. In years past, the tournament has been held in Monroeville or at various gyms.

He said boxing has steadily increased in popularity in the region, and a recent spike in participation can be credited to International Boxing Federation lightweight champion Paul Spadafora. Cvetic said 222 fighters, coaches and officials registered for this year's event, up from recent tournaments.

Frank Cariello, president of Pennsylvania Golden Gloves, said membership is up throughout the state. He added that recent success, with the state team winning the national championships the past two years, has resulted in more youngsters trying the sport.

Tickets for the semifinals and finals are $25 for golden ringside, $20 for ringside and $15 for general admission.

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