Ring Masters Championships: Road To The Garden Finals Go Down Friday At MSG
By: Sean Crose
Madison Square Garden will host the Ring Masters Championships: Road to the Garden amateur boxing tournament this Friday, April 19th, 2019. The card, which will begin at 6:00 PM, offers a full plethora of the best amateur fighters in the greater New York City area. The winners of the 26 scheduled bouts will not only have bragging rights on their resumes, they will have proven to be among the tops of their respective divisions in the international amateur boxing scene. Some of this year’s participants have emerged from the most well-known gyms in the sport, such as the famed Gleason’s Gym in the borough of Brooklyn. Others are representing prominent organizations, such as the Police Athletic League, while still others are unattached to any particular gym or organization.
“The Road to the Garden showcases the talents of New York’s best young amateur boxers and Olympic hopefuls in venues around the New York City area,” the Madison Square Garden Company declares, “including competitors 8 years old and up.” The Garden Company also claims that: “Open Class competitors (aged 19 to 40) are eligible to qualify for the 2019 National Golden Gloves Tournament. Additionally, Boxers aged 8 to 18 are eligible to advance to the 2019 National Junior Olympics – making this USA Boxing Metro’s largest advancing tournament ever.”
A main force behind Ringmasters: Road to the Garden, is professional boxer and New York City educator Sonya Lamonakis. Boasting a record of her own of 10-2-3 as a pro, Lamonakis has help keep New York’s boxing scene alive and prosperous by putting her heart and soul into the endeavor. According to Lamonakis, who I spoke with earlier this year, the tournament has been arranged as a bracket system, (such as the NCAA basketball tournament employs). Friday marks the culmination of around 20 shows. Now the cream will rise to the top at the Garden’s Hulu Center.
This weekend’s championship tournament will offer both male and female bouts, “with the winners, according to the Garden Company, “receiving unique gold championship rings and also punching their ticket to the National Golden Gloves Championship in May.” Those questioning the value of such a tournament need only be made aware of the New York amateur fight scene in order to grasp its value. For names such as Tony Canzoneri, Riddick Bowe, and Hector Camacho emerged from the scene – and that’s just to name of few.
Competition Is Heating Up as 2019 Ringmasters Leads to the Finals
The competition is heating up in the Ring Masters Championships as Metro’s best fight for the right to box in Madison Square Garden and take home a gold championship ring. Tickets to the finals on Friday, April 19 are on sale now here.
On Thursday, February 21, the tournament got swanky at the New York Athletic Club, a members-only club on Central Park with an august Olympic history. The sold-out crowd cheered on the 152-pound novice and open fighters. Jayson Capetillo of Brotherhood Boxing won the King of Sting Power Punch Award. The Dana Ford Fight of the Night went to Dzhonibek Nazriev’s unanimous decision against Jose Davila of El Maestro BC.
“If I get tired in the ring, I think of everything I went through growing up on a farm in Tajikistan,” said Nazriev, 29, who drives an Uber when he is not at Mendez Gym training under the expert eye of Coach Elliot Ness.
On Friday, the action moved to Queens, where the standing-room-only crowd enjoyed delicious arroz con pollo as they rooted for their favorites in the 141, 165, and 178-pound men’s senior open divisions. International Boxing and Fitness in Ridgewood is a colorful storefront decorated with flags brought in by members.
“Our gym is welcoming to people of all ages and ethnicities,” said owner and coach Jenny Badillo.
It was a skillful night of razor-thin split decisions. Powerful southpaw Orville “Popcorn” Crooks of Mendez Gym captured the King of Sting Power Punch Award. The Dana Ford Fight of the Night went to NYC Cops and Kids’ Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington’s thrilling decision over Arveontae Dukes of Main Street Boxing.
“It was a great fight,” said Coach Aureliano Sosa, who trains Carrington. “The other kid wasn’t scared and he kept pressing, but the jab got him confused. There’s levels to boxing, and Shu Shu was too elite for him.”
On Sunday, the tournament travelled to Hempstead, Long Island for a matinee at the spacious Kennedy Park Recreation Center, featuring the final novice preliminaries and the debut of the women’s senior open division. Hempstead Boxing prides itself on uplifting at-risk youth in the community, under the mentorship of Coach DC, who honed his pugilistic skills in the Air Force.
The Dana Ford Fight of the night was a hard-fought 132-pound open bout won by Malique Allen of John’s Gym over Dennis Guerrero, Unattached. The King of Sting Power Punch went to heavyweight Thomas Boatswain for his impressive second round stoppage.
“Sprints and Olympic lifts are great for power,” said Boatswain, 32, who runs his own strength and conditioning business in Harlem. “When you punch, you have to punch with your legs and hips, and that gives you snap.”
Metro was honored to have Ring 8 sponsor Sunday’s action with President Charlie Norkus, Jr on hand to greet the boxers and Vice President Frank Pena in the ring as an official. Ring 8 is a nonprofit that provides assistance to former professional boxers in need. Boxers helping boxers: That’s the Metro spirit!
This Friday, the Ring Masters returns to Main Street Boxing in Mount Vernon, featuring the return of Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington fighting Dey’Shawn Williams for the remaining 141-pound semifinal spot on the Road to the Garden. Saturday, Heavy Hitters Boxing in Ronkonkoma hosts quarterfinal action in the men’s 123 and 132-pound senior open divisions, featuring the heavy-handed Harley Mederos, CJ Hernandez and the rest of Metro’s all-star lineup.
Ring Masters Championships 2019 Is Off to a Triumphant Start
The Ring Masters Championships is off to a triumphant start. In just its second year, Metro’s premier tournament has drawn a field of over 700 boxers from 70 clubs throughout the metropolitan area, all vying for the right to slug it out in Madison Square Garden for the title “Ring Master.”
Opening night on February 7 at Amazura Night Club and Concert Hall featured a Metro first: Two simultaneous rings! Nonstop action in the 123, 132, and 141-pound senior novice divisions thrilled the standing-room-only crowd, which featured New York boxing luminaries like Brian Ceballo, Patrick Day, and Chris “Bhopp” Colbert, cheering on the next generation. Andrew Bueno of Eastern Queens BC took home the King of Sting Power Punch award. The Dana Ford Fight of the Night went to Khamall Dunkley, Freeport PAL vs Kerry Duperval, Westbury BC.
Action continued on February 8 in the 152-pound senior novice division at Church Street Boxing in the heart of the financial district, which holds bragging rights as the “Largest Fight Gym in NYC.” It was a great night for the fighters from Gleason’s Gym, as Justin Travieso won the King of Sting Power Punch award, and the Dana Ford Fight of the Night saw gymmate Alejandro Torres defeat John Argueta, Unattached. (Full fight here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dahf7IoO5I8 )
On February 9, Gleason’s played host to the 165-pound novice preliminaries at their world famous headquarters overlooking the bridges and rooftops of DUMBO, Brooklyn. The Dana Ford Fight of the Night was won by Peter Ramos of the New Bed Stuy BC vs Niall Curran, Unattached. The King of Sting Power Punch award went to Michael Antuofermo of Freeport PAL, an all-county wrestler trying to follow in the footsteps of his great uncle Vito Antuofermo, former middleweight champion of the world.
“He’s got a famous last name, so I gotta make sure he can fight!” said Coach Joe Higgins. “I’m trying to get him to be a little ferocious on the inside and shorten up his punches, just like his uncle did.”
Valentine’s Day weekend brought lots to love as WTF (Work Train Fight) hosted the action in their glamorous Noho gym. The 141-pound senior novices returned to the ring, joined by the big boys: the 201 and 201+ senior novices.
“It was great energy,” said featherweight Rebecca Guzman of Champs. “They had a DJ spinning and they were giving out gloves and tee-shirts from the sponsors. The heavyweights were going at it so hard that a ref went to the canvass!”
With so much firepower, it was a tight race for the King of Sting Power Punch, won by superheavyweight police officer Laron Rhodie, fighting unattached. The Dana Ford Fight of the night went to the skillful 141-pound matchup won by WTF’s Chris Sealy against Jensey Diaz of Brotherhood Boxing.
The action moved to Mount Vernon on February 16 as Main Street Boxing Club hosted the 123 and 178-pound senior novices. Coach Michael Stellate’s welcoming space atop a hardcore muscle gym is a perfect example of the way Metro’s member clubs build communities that uplift our youth. Fight of the Night honors went to light heavyweights Nick Ferrandino of Champs vs Louis Maietta of Morris Park, but the packed crowd really roared when their hometown hero Koray Turhan captured the Sting Power Punch Award with a first-round stoppage.
“It’s like a second family here,” said Turhan, 22, who works as an EMT for the FDNY. “Sometimes after a hard day at work, I don’t want to train, but I know I can come here and forget about the world. Coach is like a father to me. He’s everything.”
The tournament continues at NYAC, Thursday evening with 152 Novice/Open, and Friday at International Boxing and Fitness in Ridgewood, Queens with all open class boxers at 141, 165, 178 Senior Open, and our weekend ends with a show at Hempstead Boxing at Kennedy Park on Sunday at 4 pm.
Many thanks to all our sponsors, clubs, coaches, officials, and the fans who have already turned out to support Metro’s best.
And if you haven’t come out yet, what are you waiting for? Action continues this Thursday at the historic New York Athletic Club. Schedule, full results, and updated brackets are here: https://citylimits.org/boxing19/