Hope all are enjoying excellent health as the summer winds down.
June was a busy month preparing for and participating in the National JO tournament in Charleston, W. Virginia. It was another great tournament orchestrated by the office staff and their army of great volunteers. Almost 800 boxers, 500 coaches and 100 officials all made it look easy.
Charleston is tough to get to but once there, everything is very customer friendly with everything being within walking distance. Due to a contract signed four years ago, we still have one more year left in Charleston.
A sad incident occurred when some of our people felt that a local restaurant was being discriminatory and I told Mike McAtee to investigate. He’s very good at these things due to being a detective of 25 years. Mike worked together with Samantha Carney of the Charleston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to get the matter resolved with the general manager immediately firing the manager. That’s called GSD.
Like many of you I attended the Ringside World Championships with 25 of my boxers and as usual it was very well run and organized. This continues to be a great tournament because coaches can bring almost every competitive ready boxer in their gym. One of the main reasons for this boxing extravaganza with six rings being so good for everyone is the massive contribution by our USA Boxing staff, volunteers and officials. Another great job of being tournament director was accomplished again, for the 14th year, (I think) by Joe Smith who this year brought daughter Abbey to do all the really hard work. What a great team! ! ! Another great team brought in this year to be co-chiefs of officials was Israel Villa and Marshall Cunningham. No surprise here, when you have two former marines on the job – it gets done and done right! ! Almost 100 officials worked the show from all over the country and did a fine job.
While at the tournament I hooked up with Dr. Michael Cantrell who is an orthopedic surgeon from Huntsville, Ala. He thought he was just coming to compete in the Master’s division but being a great boxing guy he volunteered to help make the physical exams go smoothly and then made a long-awaited video for us. We have long needed a video that is available for any doc to view that wants to help us but is not sure what a ringside doc actually does. Dr. Cantrell knocked it out of the park in under 10 minutes. We didn’t want it labor intensive for our perspective docs. It will be available soon to view on our website.
USA Boxing recently received a grant from our Foundation to initiate our long-awaited Alumni Association. Thanks to the help of many led by Chris Cugliari it is fast becoming a reality. Many great things for our sport will come from this soon to be great organization.
The first LBC workshop was just completed and it was a smashing success. Our great volunteers at the LBC level collaborated with the staff and a mutual understanding was achieved of the problems that both experience and solutions for such. These workshops can only lead to a better and universal understanding of our rules, policies, and procedures that will make conducting our sport easier for everyone. We have plans for more educational opportunities for membership in the future. There is another workshop scheduled for Sept. 22 & 23.
Most coaches and boxers are gearing up for the last qualifier in Chattanooga (Oct. 15 – 22) which will be well run and organized because the host folks there know what they’re doing. Should be another huge tournament with around 800 boxers.
This all leads to the National Championships in Salt Lake City Dec. 3 – 10. SLC is a great city for boxing and I hope to see many of you there.
In both Chattanooga and SLC I will have numerous “Think Tanks” with folks involved in different areas of our sport so that we can figure out how to do things better and deliver better services to you, our members.
Lastly, I am going to end this and future communications briefly discussing some of our great long time boxing folks who have given so much to our sport. I want to start with a couple of wonderful buddies of mine who are also my hero’s.
Often, I hear folks refer to sports stars, movie stars, whoever, as their hero. Makes me think, what is a real hero. A real hero continually gives of themselves to aid those that need help. A couple of obvious examples, the late Paul Newman and Jerry Lewis. Newman was a huge movie star who used his fame to start a food company with all profits going to the Hole in the Wall Gang which provides camps around the country for kids with cancer. Jerry raised over 2 billion dollars for “Jerry’s Kids” to try to cure muscular dystrophy. We also have folks in our sport who are always giving to “Our Kids” in various ways. Below are two of many.
Buddy Davis has given over 50 years of his life to the sport and together with his wife Bo were quite a GSD team. Bo is no longer with us but Buddy continues on giving, giving, giving. He was the Georgia LBC chair for over 50 years, helped put on the Olympic trials and Olympic games in Atlanta. Along the way, he developed a father-like relationship with the great Evander Holyfield who learned how to give back from Buddy & Bo. He is a member of the USA Boxing hall of fame and was a board of director and he changed many rules to make our sport better.
I have known Buddy for over 30 years and always look forward to seeing him because of his gentle ways and “what can I do to help” attitude. When we started the Ringside World Championships it was Buddy & Bo who figured out how to manage over 1000 passbooks and worked on it day and night. Always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done and done with no drama. Buddy to this day does the job no one else wants to do, organizing our passbooks at all large tournaments. He is one of many that are totally devoted to our sport but HE is one of a kind.
My other buddy is Buddy LaRosa of Cincinnati. Buddy’s dad put him in boxing at a young age to keep him out of trouble and it worked. Buddy is now a very successful restaurant owner with hundreds of eateries bearing his name. His children now run the business because Buddy, at 87 is too busy being involved in boxing. He has saved and sponsored the Golden Gloves for years and has started many local boxing clubs. His crown jewel being his latest project, opening a 15,000 sq. ft. boxing gym with three rings which also houses offices, classrooms for tutoring, interval training and a meeting room. Buddy continues to positively change the lives of thousands of young folks and does it just because he’s paying back the sport that helped him many years ago.
Until next time, keep your hands up & head down.