By: Sean Crose
Madison Square Garden will host the Ringmasters: 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.