By: Sean Crose
Ring Masters Championships: Road to the Garden, New York’s premiere amateur boxing competition, has entered its third straight year. New York is famous for its output of legendary fighters, from Gene Tunney, to Mike Tyson, from Jake LaMotta to Riddick Bowe. Those who follow this year’s Ring Masters competition may indeed be looking at individuals who will someday enter that prestigious list of names. The tournament started last weekend in Jamaica, Queens, and will conclude this April at the famed Madison Square Garden. There are a total of 20 dates scheduled for this year’s tournament, which will cover a total of 19 locations.
It’s hard to write of Ring Masters without writing of Sonya Lamonakis, a professional fighter and Language Arts teacher from New York who dedicates yeoman’s time and effort to the competition. “We have around 500 entries for the tournament,” she says of this year’s Ring Masters. “Winners in the senior divisions get custom made championship rings. Junior Olympic, Masters, and Youth Champions get belts.” These are no small thing in the world of amateur boxing, when one considers just how big the New York fight scene is. “We have about 500 entrees for the tournament,” says Lamonakis.
Fighters move ahead bracket style in this year’s Ring Masters competition, as they did last year. “Brackets are posted after every show,” Lamonakis says, “on 2020 Ring Masters Championships The Road to the Garden : City Limits.” Just how big a deal is it for a fighter to do well in the Ring Masters Tournament? According to Lamonakis, last year: We had 2 winners from Ring Masters win gold at the National Golden Gloves. Krystal Dixon, Champs Boxing and Orville Crooks from Mendez Boxing.” For those who take the sport seriously, succeeding in the tournament can be a significant achievement. As Ring Championships points out: “Our first two shows have been sell out crowds. We have a packed schedule, hungry boxers, and an organization running the best tournament in the Northeast.”
As for Lamonakis herself, the teacher/boxer/organizer is keeping busy as always. “I’m recovered from my rotator cuff tear,” she says. “I’m back in the gym and looking to have a couple more fights before I retire. The problem is there are not a lot of female heavyweights. I have 15 pro fights and I’m not looking to box the same people again and again. There are a couple in Canada I would like to box.” Lamonakis also takes part in “Corporate Fighter,” a charitable endeavor that introduces donors to the challenge of the boxing ring.
“Corporate Fighter is in the recruitment stages now and will begin March 2,” she says,” “with the charity fight night on May 8. I’m excited to be working with this organization. They let the boxers pick the charity they want to box for from a wide variety of choices. They have had about 50 successful shows in Australia, and I think will be a big success in NY. After they set up shop in NYC they will be branching out to all major cities in America. There are a few slots available if anyone is interested (http://www.corporatefighter.com ).”
In an uncertain world, one thing seems to be inarguable – no one will ever accuse Sonya Lamonakis of being lazy.