The 2018 Texas State Golden Gloves Tournament will have a new look this year.
So will the national event.
This year will be the first to include the women in the Texas State Golden Gloves Tournament, which will be held at Feb. 28-March 3 at John Justin Arena on the Will Rogers Complex in Fort Worth. State champions will also be able to compete in the national tournament, which is set for May 14-19 in Omaha, Neb.
The women will compete in an open division for ages 18-40.
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The change, which applies to all states, was unanimously approved at a meeting of the Golden Gloves of America Franchise Delegate Assembly in Lafayette, La. It was done in cooperation with the United States Amateur Boxing, Inc., the national governing body for amateur boxing in the U.S.
“It’s been on the table for a little while. We had to bring it the proper way to our delegate assembly to get it voted on and of course it passed. Females are entitled to box as well as male boxers so we wanted to include them in our tournament,” said David Packer, president of Golden Gloves of America.
The biggest challenge to getting the change was tradition. Golden Gloves has basically been a men’s sport since it was established in 1923. In previous years in Texas, women could compete in the regional tournament, but couldn’t advance to state or nationals.
“It took a while for some of the people to come around and accept the fact that females are entitled to box. That’s about it,” Packer said. “I think it will help quite a lot. It might take a little time before people realize what’s going on.
“I’m from Michigan. Last year, we had some girls from Grand Valley State University who boxed in the tournament and they brought a ton of people. I think it’s only a plus.”
In regards to boxing matches involving women in general, Packer said the interest is solid.
“I don’t know how many girls really want to box. Only time will tell. Right now, it looks like there’s a lot of interest in it,” Packer said. “I think back, maybe two or three years ago when a lot movies came out, there was more interest. I think there is still quite a bit of interest. I think it’ll be a plus to our program.”
Part of the move can be attributed to the recent success of pro female boxers, including two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields, who is the reigning unified women’s super middleweight world champion.
“Sure. Absolutely. Claressa is an excellent boxer, two-time gold medalist. She’s from here, or right around here. She’s in the gym quite a bit. She’s from Flint, Michigan,” Packer said. “I think that’s another good thing. It draws a lot of interest, especially when you have someone like Claressa Shields.”
The Texas regionals will be held at John Justin Arena Feb. 20-24. The women will compete in the finals on Saturday, Feb. 24, along with the men.
Weigh-ins for the regionals will be Saturday, Feb. 17, from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at North Side High School.
Texas Golden Gloves Schedule
John Justin Arena, campus of Will Rogers Coliseum
Regionals: Feb. 20-24
State: Feb. 28-March 3