Published : Friday, March 16, 2018 | 5:44 AM
The California Golden Gloves tournament is a big deal for up and coming boxers in the nation, and an even bigger deal for three Pasadena-born hopefuls who are on the path to sports stardom as they showcased their skills in back-to-back bouts Thursday night.
The Golden Gloves tournament is being held in Pasadena for the first time ever this week.
Among the most prestigious of amateur boxing tournaments in the United States, the matches feature the best competitors from throughout California. Since its inception in 1923, it has helped launch many of today’s world-class professional champions.
The three-day Olympic qualifying tournament brings nearly 150 boxers over 18 years of age to Pasadena’s Victory Park, where months, often years, of intense training will pay off and send winners to compete in nationals later in the year.
“We were given the honor, the privilege to bring it to Pasadena so we’re very excited to be hosting the California Golden Gloves and hope to continue the tradition of making the Pasadena home for the California Golden Gloves,” said Fausto De La Torre, Villa-Parke’s Boxing Specialist.
For over 60 years the tournament was held at LA’s Lincoln Park until now and De La Torre is hopeful the Southern California Olympic qualifying boxing tournament is in line to move into an even bigger arena in the years to come.
“Victory Park is step one, and then hopefully Rose Bowl is next,” said De La Torre.
The stakes are higher for a small group of Pasadena boxers who are making big strides toward the big-time, according to De La Torre.
Humberto Robles, Fantma Martinez, and Andres Gonzalez are Pasadena’s born-and-raised athletes De La Torre has helped guide for several years and hopefully into the next phase of qualifying for the Olympics.
This event will be the first time women will be able to compete and advance to the national level, making it an extra special tournament for female boxer Fatima Martinez.
“She’s excited about that,” said De La Torre.
The tournament will be the second go for rising star Humberto Robles who made it all the way to the tournament’s national quarter finals last year.
“My high hopes are in him that he bring home a national title this year,” said De La Torre.
The 23-year old boxer and Pasadena native Andres Gonzalez has his eye on the prize in his tournament debut.
“I would like to go professional,” said Gonzales.
Gonzales started boxing at the age of 16 but due to shoulder injuries, he has taken time off in between recoveries.
Gonzales also faced challenges with drugs and alcohol during his recovery periods and since becoming sober nearly one year ago, he decided to use boxing as a healthy outlet to blaze a path to hopefully make it in the pros.
Gonzales’ is also inspired by his father, Raul Gonzales, who was a pro boxer in Puerto Rico in the late 80s and early 90s.
“It motivates me and like boxing. It has taken me out of trouble now,” said Gonzales.
According to De La Torre, the tournament is an inspiring way to get back in the sport.
“This is his first tournament and what a way to resume,” said De La Torre.
The California Golden Gloves tournament continues Friday and Saturday starting at 6:00 p.m. and goes until 10:00 p.m. at Victory Park Community Center located at 2575 Paloma Street.