The “Activity, Self-Discipline And Comradery” Of Golden Gloves Boxing In Naugatuck
By: Sean Crose
Those of us who write about boxing are told over and over again that the sport we pen articles on is dead. “Too bad you didn’t do this fifteen years ago,” someone once told me. I explain to such people that boxing is quite healthy in many places around the world. Indeed, it actually seems to perhaps be growing in some locations. What’s more, I explain that things are even looking up for the sport here in the states lately. My words, however, fall on deaf ears. Boxing is dead. The sport isn’t what it used to be. Mixed martial arts is king. And that’s all there is to it.
Never mind the fact that the famed Wembley Stadium gets completely sold out for boxing matches. Never mind that a recent televised boxing broadcast beat both the NHL and the NBA in the weekend ratings. Minds are slow things to change. Still, some of those who would write off boxing might want to check out places like the YMCA in Naugatuck, Connecticut, where it’s clear that the sport is alive and well. For this past Saturday, the 65th Annual Joe Triano/Joe Rossi Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament was held within its gym. “They’ve had a pretty strong history in the last couple of years,” Sports and Recreation Director Catherine Proto tells me.
This year, the Naugatuck YMCA saw forty-seven Golden Glove participants. According to Proto, about 200 hundred people were expected to show up to view the weekend’ proceedings. “The kids,” she says, “really enjoy the activity, self-discipline and comradery within the group.” Boxing has been an active part of this establishment for well over a half century now, going back to the time of the “Two Joes,” Joe Triano and Joe Rossi, two legendary local boxing figures who knew how to implement a good thing. The program is now run by David Cassetti, the mayor of nearby Ansonia, and a man with a ring history of his own.
Not surprisingly, this particular “Y” has its own boxing room, replete with heavy bag, speed bag, a mirror for shadowboxing and a variety of other boxing related amenities. One can frequently hear the speed bag being rattled as one head towards the locker room. At times, one can find the room filled with young athletes learning the basics of the Sweet Science. All of which, of course, leads to an obvious question:
Can the next Floyd Mayweather be found among the new crop of boxers in Naugatuck?
“They probably think it themselves,” says Proto with a laugh.
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