Taking hold of the Gold

Memorial Auditorium was abuzz Saturday night as Vermont’s best amateur boxers came together for the Golden Gloves Vermont state championships. Before the first bout, the Golden Gloves organization recognized some of the state’s boxing legends, including coach and fighter Tommy Garrow and Ace Lucas. Lucas amassed 300 wins throughout his career and fought the noted Trevor Burbick, who went on to face Muhammed Ali. After the fighters were introduced, the crowd gave a standing ovation, setting the stage for the rest of the night. The action began with a 125-pound matchup in the novice division, featuring Tanner Parenteau from the Strongheart Gym and Anthony Pyper from the Precision Boxing Gym. Pyper started the bout with a verbal taunt and went on the offensive, beginning to throw shots within moments of the bell. Pyper drew boos from the crowd after the first two rounds for a hit on Parenteau after the closing bell had sounded. Parenteau won the three-round bout in a decision, with the audible support of the Memorial audience. Following this bout came a 132-pound fight featuring a UVM representative, sophomore Stephanie Steeves from the Bantam Boxing Gym. Taking on Steeves was Jessalyn Gillett from Cornwall. Steeves was in control for the entire bout, delivering left jab after left jab to Gillett’s chin, allowing her to cruise to a three-round decision. “I am fucking excited,” Steeves said following the bout. “I knew she liked to throw a hard right, so I worked really hard to stop that, and it paid off.” Steeves will join the rest of Saturday’s winners at the New England championships in Lowell, Mass. this week, where she will join her sister in the tournament bracket. The next fight was in the 132-pound division as well and featured Lucien Benway from the Precision Boxing Gym against Joe Martin from Gamache Gym. The first two rounds were evenly contested, but in the third, Benway exploded with multiple combos on Martin. The referee paused the action twice to check on Martin and eventually call the bout. Benway’s TKO victory at 1:50 in the third round allowed him to take home the Scott Patterson Memorial Outstanding Boxer award. The rest of the novice winners on the night were Sarah Cochran and Jeff Harrison (141), Travis Lund (152), Chad Garfield (165), Keith Derrig (178), Joseph Gambero (Heavyweight) and Anthony Topchyyev (Super Heavyweight). Lund was awarded the “Benjy” Bonilla Memorial Sportsmanship Award and the Jimmy Sheridan Memorial Outstanding Manager/ Trainer Award went to John George from Windsor. While Saturday’s fights were a long way from the top, many of the fighters in the building seemed to be driven by the hope of one day turning pro, and the audience was wholeheartedly behind them the entire way, showing the amount of passion the Green Mountain State has for amateur boxing.