Home Sports Wisconsin Golden Gloves Returns to Madison Area March 13-14

Wisconsin Golden Gloves Returns to Madison Area March 13-14

Photo by Ron Lutz II

For the second consecutive year, Madison’s Bob Lynch Boxing Foundation will host Wisconsin Golden Gloves, the state’s top amateur boxing tournament, at the Marriott West in Middleton on March 13 and 14.

Madison365 is the exclusive media partner of the event.

Organizers expect about 100 boxers from around the state to compete in novice and elite divisions.

Marcus Robert Johnson (Red) raises his arms in thankful victory as his opponent Dakota Carner also celebrates the win. The ideals of honorable sportsmanship and camaraderie are alive and well in the Wisconsin Golden Gloves.

Photo by Ron Lutz II.

The tournament is a step toward nationals for boxers in the open elite division — meaning boxers aged 18 – 40 who have more than 10 sanctioned bouts under their belts. Seven boxers came through last year’s tournament and went on to nationals, including Madison’s Briana Che, who won a national title at 165 pounds.

“This is going to become a perennial place to take yourself to nationals,” said Mike Noack, a member of the board of directors of the Bob Lynch Boxing Foundation. “So that’s a huge momentum builder for the fighters to get involved now.”

For other, less experienced boxers, Golden Gloves is the pinnacle of competition — but that doesn’t dampen their enthusiasm.

“We have a lot of novice boxers that are super excited about coming. We’re giving them an opportunity, even though they can’t advance to the national tournament, we’re giving them an opportunity to box,” said Bob Lynch Boxing Foundation President Andrea Nelson. “I’ve talked to probably 20 people already just since registration opened in January. Novice boxers who just like took the fundamentals class, who are all of a sudden, ‘I wanna box the Golden Gloves.’ And they’re sparring for the first time.”

Nelson hopes to make Golden Gloves a higher-profile event and keep more young people in amateur boxing.

“One of our issues in Wisconsin is that we have a lot of youth boxers, kids coming up. They’re doing it as an after school sport and a weekend thing,” but they’re not translating into elite amateur boxers in adulthood, Nelson said. “Partly because maybe they’re just not sticking with it. They’re getting jobs, they’re getting married, they’re turning pro. And so I think it’s going to take a few more years to really build (Golden Gloves) up as an exciting thing to work towards. So that when you turn 18 you don’t all of a sudden decide you’re going to turn pro. You don’t all of a sudden go to (mixed martial arts). That’s our biggest issue is trying to actually have the experienced talent to feed into the national tournament.”

Noack said organizers are working to make this year’s event even better for spectators, making adjustments to lighting and traffic flow. Creating a marquee event that’s more than just one weekend a year is critical to the foundation, Noack said.

“We’re all unpaid members plowing their volunteer time into this for the entire year,” Noack said. “As soon as we’re done with the event we’re planning for the next one. And I think it was a huge turnout not by just happenstance. It was a lot of hard work that poured into getting everybody there … We’re exponentially building that by just having so many people involved. That’s kind of the cool part is just building that groundswell for it.”

Tickets for Friday and Saturday are sold separately. General admission tickets for each day are $15. Front row seats for Friday are $30 and Saturday are $40. VIP tables are $200 for Friday and $250 for Saturday. Tickets are available on the Wisconsin Golden Gloves website.