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Boxing's Brightest Prospects On Display At 2009 Golden Gloves Tournament

The meteoric rise of Mixed Martial Arts has led some to prematurely declare the downfall of boxing, but anyone who follows the sport and its rich history knows how preposterous that forecast is.  There’s plenty of thrilling action taking place inside the squared circle, and with a thriving pro scene in Montreal and several championship cards being hosted at Casino Rama, Canada is proving itself a worthy opponent on the world stage.

We may have disappointed on the amateur level during the past Olympics, sending a paltry one-man team to Beijing, but there’s a new crop of stars honing their skills in local gyms and they’ll be on full fistic display during the Ontario Golden Gloves and Primetime Prospects Invitational, set for April 3 to 5 in Kitchener, Ont.

The event, hosted by Syd Vanderpool’s ‘ Boxing By Syd’ will take place at Kitchener’s Delta Hotel, and will feature over 100 young pugs from Ontario, as well as several American prospects, many who are primed for the pros.

“This is an opportunity for the boxers to come and face off against some of the best boxers in Ontario, and international as well, because we have some fighters from the U.S. coming, from Michigan,” Vanderpool, who fought some of the best during his own illustrious ring career, told CityNews.ca 

“So it’s an opportunity to test our skills against the very best, and for the fans it’s an opportunity to come out and see the rising stars of boxing.”

Vanderpool is confident that the amateur boxing scene in Ontario will bounce back from its lacklustre Olympic showing, but admits it will take some work.

“We have some tremendous boxers in Canada and in this area but we need to do more events like this so they get experience and are exposed to fighting international fighters and fighting on a high level.  Yes we do have the talent but we need to nurture and develop it and it can only be done by tournaments like this,” he stresses.

Even more important than international prowess or professional aspirations are the life lessons that young men and women learn inside the ring and in the gym.
 
“We’ll have 15 kids participating form our club and over the last 3 months the discipline and dedication that they’ve had to show in order to make it to this point…it has helped them with staying focused and understanding that if you have a goal and something you want to achieve there are steps you have to take to get there.”

That doesn’t mean the tournament is catered to young people only, however.  Ages range from 11-59.

You can find out more about the 3-day event, and purchase tickets here.

Photo Credit: Kazakhstan’s Bakhyt Sarsekbayev (R) fights against Canada’s Adam Trupish during their 2008 Olympic Games Welterweight (69 kg) boxing bout on August 10, 2008 in Beijing. JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)

michaelt@citytv.com