It’s the return of the amateur boxing kings and queens. The 90th annual Daily News Tournament has a wealth of talent returning to the finals that are either reigning champions or runner-ups. These boxers are either looking to recapture the gold or redeem themselves from the results they experienced last year. Returning champions to the finals from last year looking to defend their crown include Krystal Dixon (176F), Nisa Rodriguez (152F), Stacia Suttles (141F), Jonibek Khotamov (123 Novice), Bruce Carrington (132 Open), and Nkosi Soloman (201+ Open).
Boxers seeking their first taste of Golden Gloves glory after falling just short last year include Gabriella Gulfin (112F), Trudy Li (125F), Andy Dominguez (114 Open), Macarena Soto (141F), Justin Briggs (152 Open), Marquise Williams (201 Open) and Michael Polite-Coffie (201+ Novice). All of the boxers in the tournament have been putting in countless hours in the gym with their eyes on the ultimate prize. The competitors have been making adjustments and working on different aspects of their fight game.
After facing a tough defeat last year in the finals, Polite-Coffie has rededicated himself to his craft. He vows that his roadwork will be the difference in this year’s finals.
"I made it to the finals last year. It was a good experience. It showed me a lot of things that I needed to work on. It showed me that I couldn’t just rely on my power. I think my power got me out of trouble a lot last year," said Polite Coffee. "It showed me that I definitely needed to implement more cardio into my training regimen. I was gassed after the first round in the finals last year".
The boxers of this year’s tournament are coming full steam ahead into the finals with ambitions of taking home the gold. To win just one tournament title is a remarkable feat for those in pursuit this year, but the ones who have already accomplished this; they are looking to build upon their Golden Gloves legacy.
The competitors will be laying it all on the line on Friday and Saturday night with aspirations of being among the greats of the tournament. Gulfin, who is returning after a tough loss last year, looks to redeem herself in this year’s finals.
"I have been working so hard to make improvements. Making it to the finals has shown that my hard work is paying off. It makes me want to push more," Gulfin said. "I think if I won the Golden Gloves my heart would feel like it’s transcending".
All of the talented boxers will be elevated into the spotlight this weekend with hopes of transcending into the annals of Golden Gloves history. Tickets are on-sale at Ticketmaster for Friday’s event at the Manhattan Center and Saturday at the Aviator Center. Floor seats are sold out for Friday night’s event.