Pros Turn Out for Kids

26.10.03 – “A lot of these young kids come down to the gym. I work out with them and try to help them out. I want to show my support for them like they show for me.” Lawrence Clay-Bey – Heavyweight Contender

By Ron DiMichele: Many of Connecticut’s boxing glitterati lit up the arena Saturday night at the First Annual Windsor Boxing Show in Windsor, CT. But it was the young fighters who provided the fireworks in a 12-bout amateur card benefiting the Windsor Police Athletic League. Former WBC and WBA Welterweight Champion, Marlon Starling, expressed the feelings of many of the local pros in attendance. “I come out to support the boys,” said the Magic Man. “I work at the gyms in Hartford, Manchester, and Windsor [CT] and I still love it.”

The pro fighters extolled the virtues of boxing for young pugilists. “It teaches them how to train,” said Liz Mueller, former IWBF [International Women’s Boxing Federation] Lightweight Champion. “How to be disciplined. Believe it or not, it probably deters a lot of violence, because if you’ve ever fought, you don’t ever want to get into a fight outside the ring.”

Current WBA Welterweight belt holder, Jose Rivera, who made the trip down from Worcester, MA, agreed. “It gives a troubled kid, growing up with nothing, self-esteem. It builds character and teaches good sportsmanship. How many sports do you know where two people are beating each other’s brains out and then at the end they’re hugging and saying, ‘Good fight, good fight’? And it humbles a person because there’s so much work, hard work, that you’ve got to put into this. You definitely grow from boxing.”

Several of the fighters had words of advice for young amateurs thinking of turning pro.

“Talk with people who know boxing,” said Lawrence Clay-Bey, 1996 Olympic Boxing Team Captain. “Let them give you their honest opinion about whether you’re actually ready to turn pro.”

“Get as much amateur experience as possible,” added pro middleweight, Brandon Mitchem. “That can only help you in the pros.”

Jose Rivera’s words echoed some oft-repeated advice. “Surround yourself with good people. People you can trust. People who care about you. Because when they care about you whether you win or lose, whatever happens in your career, they’re always going to be by your side. And that’s more important than anything else.”

Marlon Starling addressed the bottom line of the pro business.

“Don’t worry about the money,” said the former champion from Hartford, CT. “Worry about being the best you can be. Because if you’re the best, they have to pay you.”

In the main event of the evening, Matt Remillard of Manchester, CT defeated two-time Canadian national amateur champion, Baha Laham, of Montreal, Canada in a 125 lb match-up. Remillard used superior reach and steady movement to win a close, hard-fought decision.

“I knew I had to use my angles and keep moving,” said Remillard. “I saw that when I stayed with him on the inside, he was hitting me a lot more than if I was on the outside.”

In the evening’s other bouts:

171 lbs Shane Vale, Meriden, CT dec. Telly Dialo, Montreal, Canada
157 lbs Chris Muflai, Bridgeport, CT dec. Edgardo Torres, Windsor, CT
152 lbs Enrique Pallau, Worcester, MA dec. Russell Blackwell, New Haven, CT
124 lbs Tony Luis, Montreal dec. Ricky Ledesma, New London, CT
123 lbs Christian Martinez, Bronx, NY dec. Julito Aquino, Meriden, CT
100 lbs Matt Gibbons, Manchester, CT dec. Jessy Ross Thompson, Montreal
96 lbs Joey Bowman, Montreal dec. Ryan Kieweski, MA
88 lbs Joe Goss Jr, Bridgeport, CT dec. Angel Ortiz, New London, CT
80 lbs Ricky Hargett, New Haven, CT dec. Edwin Espinal, RI
68 lbs Jamaine Williams, New Haven, CT dec. Hector Colon, Providence, RI

This boxing card was presented by John Scully and Iceman Productions. Many thanks to all who participated in interviews.

Ron DiMichele’s email address is: rondimi@yahoo.com

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