The annual Junior Golden Gloves is scheduled here for July 18-21, 2012 at the Casa Blanca Event Center. As usual with youth boxing events in Southern Nevada, a tireless and dedicated Las Vegas family will be working behind the scenes to make certain everything goes smoothly.
Former professional fighter Pat Barry; his wife, Dawn; their daughter Dawn Sanchez, and Sanchez’s husband, Augie, are recognized as experts in their trade. The quartet creates the vision of blockbuster youth boxing events; organizes and presents the events and in true professional fashion, comes through with flying colors every time.
The Junior Golden Gloves Nationals will be no exception attracting more than 300 competitors from all over the country. Three boxing rings – also built and then torn down by the family after being transported to the CasaBlanca– will showcase one of America’s purest forms of athletics.
Whether talking with competitors, trainers, Golden Gloves executives or fans, the spectacular gatherings draw hundreds to Mesquite and bring immeasurable attention to the city.
The Barry family completed the 2012 National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions, April 29-May 5, in what proved to be another massive undertaking. With more than 300 amateur boxers ages 19-35 competing in more than 200 bouts, the copy written and photos and video transmitted all over North America was nothing less than staggering.
“Next to the Olympics, this was the greatest achievement that an amateur boxer can have,” said Dawn Sanchez, who serves as the tournament director. “You have to work very hard to get here and work even harder to survive the tournament. Only one champion is named in each division – and that’s huge.”
Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions events could be held anywhere in the country, especially when speaking of events such as the ones presented in Mesquite. Representatives from major cities including Cincinnati, Ohi, and Lafayette, La., vied for the chance to land the Tournament of Champions only to be out-bid by a stellar team of executives including Mesquite Gaming Executive Sales Manager Michelle Yegge Evans; Dawn Barry of Barry’s Boxing and Julian Dugas of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority,
The Junior Golden Gloves event will again be another bright light in the middle of the desert and it’s not difficult finding boxers and family members quick to praise the Barry family for its continued dedication to the sport.
Barry’s Boxing inLas Vegasis a hub of activity year round as competitors work hard preparing for their trip to Mesquite.
“I have been here for four years,” said Filipino competitor Jojit Butay-Fillon, an 11 year-old boxer who competes in the 11-12 class. “They work me very hard every day. The Barrys have been a very important part of my life. My dad found out about the gym and we started coming here in 2008.
“This gym is a home away from home for me.”
Butay-Fillon is also an excellent student who is headed for the sixth grade. He has a straight-A average.
“This keeps me active and also keeps my brain active,” he said. “My parents are very proud of me for keeping such a hectic schedule. I train every day.”
Marco Magdaleno, 16, competes in the 146-pound class. He has been frequenting the Barry gym for about eight years.
“I love the sport and the people that are around me,” said Magdaleno, while praising the Barry family for it dedication to the sport. “If it weren’t for the Barry family, we would not be here right now.”
While the labor involved is intense and very challenging, the Barry family finds great satisfaction in helping guide youth boxers.
“There is so much value in Golden Gloves,” said Pat Barry, a 58-year-old former police officer who with his wife operates Barry’s Boxing Center at 2664 S. Highland Ave., in Las Vegas. “The sport instills discipline into young people while also giving them a sense of satisfaction.”
Going from professional boxing to a coach and promoter for amateur boxing was a natural for Barry.
“People many times learn to pick themselves up off the canvas,” he said in an earlier interview. “They learn to face their fears head-on. The sport shows young people the responsible way of doing things rather than blowing their temper and doing something they regret later.”
Mrs. Barry is also a former police officer. The two opened their gym in 1984 at Spring Mountain and Decatur in Las Vegas before eventually expanding to their current location with 4,000 square feet.
“I don’t want these people to depend on the system,” she said of the youth boxers. “I want these boxers to be able to make their own decisions and be responsible for their actions. They learn that discipline in the sport of boxing. When these kids leave here, they get jobs and/or they get married. They take responsibility for their lives.”
Augie Sanchez, a former professional boxer, and Glyn Bolton of England take the rings to the CasaBlanca.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s all worth it,” he said.
Glyn Bolton, who travels to the Golden Gloves each year fromEngland, has known the Barry family for 25 years.
“The Barry family is very important to the sport of boxing,” said the 46-year-old Bolton, a boxing coach in England. “They always look after me when I come over here. This is more like a family-run gym and the kids here love it. This is also my home away from home.”
Jim Beasley, executive director for the Golden Gloves of America, said that the contingent in the southwest includes Washington, Oregon, all of Nevada and part of Arizona. Mesquite becomes a hub for the region each year.
“We are very fortunate to have a whole family helping us with the Golden Gloves activities,” said Beasley.
“They work very hard to promote amateur boxing. This has been a very successful franchise.”
Doors will open each day at 5 p.m. with boxing set to begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are priced from $16.50 for a one-day pass; $27 for a two-day pass; $32 for a three-day pass and $37 for a four-day pass.