Monica Basan knew when she wed her husband Joe that she wasn’t only marrying the man.
In addition to her sweetheart, she was taking vows with the sweet science. It only follows logic considering one of their first dates was a night at the Golden Gloves tournament in 1990.
Boxing and the Basans are synonymous, though she didn’t know at the time what the depth of that commitment would become.
Today, Monica Basan is the new president of the Texas Golden Gloves, taking over for Jeanie Sharp, who retired after decades as leader of the Fort Worth-based amateur boxing institution.
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Beginning Tuesday, the 80th Golden Gloves regional tournament opens at Will Rogers Memorial Center’s Watt Arena. More than 300 boxers are expected for the tournament, which runs through Saturday. The first opening bell each night is at 7 p.m. Open division champions advance to the state tournament, March 2-5 at Watt Arena.
“It’s funny … I tell my husband, it’s so weird. I remember sitting here watching Mark [her son] box and never in a million years would I have thought 10 years later I would be running Texas Golden Gloves,” said Basan, who was the director before for some time. “It’s awesome. Who would’ve thought? You just never know.”
Joe Basan is the manager of the Golden Gloves gym. He also runs Basan’s Boxing Club, which will have a number of fighters going this week.
It’s a whole event for us. We all participate … the whole family.
Joe Basan, Monica Basan’s husband, on family participation in Texas Golden Gloves
The Golden Gloves is an extension of family. And if you look closely enough, you’ll see Basans everywhere at work this week. All three of the Basans’ children, their daughters-in-law, and Monica’s brother and sister will all have roles in helping their mother.
“It’s a whole event for us,” Joe said. “We all participate … the whole family.”
Monica talks about her new role:
What does boxing mean to the Basans?
It’s in the genes, I guess. Joe boxed [in his youth] and the boys wanted to box also. Mark and my youngest son, Joe Jr., both boxed for a few years. They never did soccer or baseball, it was just boxing. Never in all my years with Joe have I heard about a football game coming on TV or a soccer game or baseball. It’s always boxing. And the kids are the same way. Mark still comes up to help train the kids.
What did boxing do for you children?
It taught them to be mature adults, discipline, respect. The respect I see these kids give officials and staff members, it’s amazing. My sister started volunteering last year and she couldn’t believe the respect boxers give to the staff. She said ‘if I tell them “no, it’s not this way …” they said yes, ma’am. Never once did they argue or talk back.’
And now you and your husband are in position to help mentor other kids?
You try to mentor these kids. I told my husband all the time, you don’t realize, the coaches don’t realize, what you do for these kids. They really do look up to you. You don’t know what’s going on with their lives at home. A lot of these kids have issues and they’ll come to Joe with their problems looking for advice.
It taught them to be mature adults, discipline, respect. The respect I see these kids give officials and staff members, it’s amazing.
Monica Basan on the influence of boxing on her family
What is your vision for the Golden Gloves?
Right now it’s more holding on. [laughs] You just don’t realize … you see the faces of those running the gym, but you don’t know the people behind the scenes. I didn’t know what went on back there [in the administrative office]. People know who runs the gym and that’s it. Those are the faces you see. For the longest time, I didn’t know Jeanie or Laurie [Sepulvador]. And now that I’m back there, I’m, like, ‘wow, you guys did a lot work.’ You have to love the program.
Open division champions at the Texas Golden Gloves regional tournament advance to the state tournament, March 2-5 at Watt Arena.
Fort Worth Regional Golden Gloves
Today-Saturday, Watt Arena