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Kid Gloves

Area teens jump into the ring for America's premier amateur-boxing matches.

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Northeast Ohio's top-ranked boxers step into the ring today for the quarterfinals of the 80th annual Cleveland Amateur Golden Gloves Tournament. Trumpeted as the oldest boxing blowout in the country, the competition retains its mystique — even next to martial arts, which has leapfrogged boxing in popularity in the past few years. "The history of this organization goes back so far," says Clytee Dunn, who doubles as president of USA Boxing's Lake Erie Association and treasurer of Golden Gloves' Cleveland chapter. "A lot of the youngsters that come to us had fathers or uncles or grandfathers that were part of the Gloves back in the day."Today's bouts will be divided into three divisions: sub-novice, for boxers who've never fought in sanctioned bouts; novice, for athletes who've duked it out in no more than 10 fights; and open, for the most experienced competitors. And don't be surprised if a few international-level fighters surface at the end of the night. There's last year's featherweight winner, Raynell Williams, who moved on to win the national Golden Gloves championship and will fight in the Beijing Olympics in August. Stow native Shawn Porter also advanced to the nationals and competed in the Olympic trials. "Mixed martial arts may have a step up on boxing, when it comes to attendance," says Dunn. "But we're holding our own in terms of competition." The fights start at 6 tonight at Masonic Hall, 2831 Franklin Boulevard in Ohio City. Tickets are $15 to $25. Call 216-662-7445 or visit www.clevelandamateurgg.com.
Sat., April 12, 6 p.m., 2008

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