The women’s 112-pound weight class is ready to crown a new champion.
This year’s finals matchup is a showdown between two relative newcomers to the sport, Jewel Lambert (Starrett City BC) and Gabriella Gulfin (Gleason’s Gym).
This is Gulfin’s second year in the tournament; Lambert is a Golden Gloves rookie.
“I’m having a lot of fun doing the Golden Gloves. It’s my first time. I’m trying to soak it all in,” said Lambert. “It’s been a true learning experience. I’ve learned a lot about myself. It helped me gain confidence in myself and in the things I can do. Before I used to doubt myself, now I want to get up and try everything. It taught me what I can take, what I can handle and what my limits are.”
In the other corner, Gulfin will be looking to give Lambert all she can handle. She has a mixed martial arts and jiu jitsu background, but picked up boxing to add another aspect to her fight game.
“The original reason I got into boxing was to improve my striking game in mixed martial arts, but I also fell in love with boxing. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned to go through with my punches instead of pushing them,” said Gulfin.
“I’m more of a grappler. I use the grapples to fill in the blanks of my striking, so I wasn’t used to that. My first time boxing I couldn’t use my jiu jitsu to help me out," said Gulfin. “As I’ve had more fights, I’ve gotten more comfortable.”
Lambert is also a big fan of combat sports. She always liked watching mixed martial arts and different types of fighting. Lambert had a little bit of experience in muay thai, but not much. She got into the sweet science after a trainer noticed her at a local gym.
“It just happened, one of the trainers at the gym noticed me. He liked the way I moved and suggested that I get into boxing,” said Lambert. “I finally wanted to take the plunge and do something that I wanted to do for a change. I wanted to do this thing where I started saying yes and stopped saying no. I decided to take him up on his offer and start. Life is so short — you might as well try something new.”
Gulfin (l.) and Lambert pose for their Golden Gloves headshots.
Lambert is putting in extra work at the gym with a variety of different routines to prep for the fight.
“I’m motivated to get the best out of myself, to see how far I can take it,” Lambert said. “I feel like what do in the gym is a little bit of everything. We do Stairmasters, I run a lot, I like to swim.”
Gulfin is working hard, too. One of things that she feels separates her from her competitors is her diet. “Fighting in the Daily News Golden Gloves Final as a vegan makes winning even more crucial for me. I want to prove that one does not have to eat meat to be a beast,” said Gulfin. “Eating meat brings the suffering of other living beings and damages the Earth, it does not make one a stronger fighter.
“I’m not here to tell people their life choice is wrong — just that a person can be great and go far on a plant-based diet.”
Saturday afternoon’s finals matchup at Aviator Recreation Center in Brooklyn will be a test for each competitor — and a special rematch of sorts.
The first time Lambert stepped into the ring for a boxing match it was against Gulfin, during a monthly boxing series at Gleason’s Gym.
Lambert ended up facing Gulfin because her original opponent was a no-show, and Gulfin happened to be in the gym at the time and stepped up to the challenge.
It was only Gulfin’s second bout, and she lost a hotly contested split-decision.
The fireworks will be flying in the rematch — each boxer possesses a toe-to-toe style, and the fans should get their money’s worth.
“I’m really excited to see how we both have grown,” said Gulfin. “My job is going to make sure that I come out on top this time and I’m going to work for that finish.
“I love the crowd’s energy — it gets me so into the fight. I’m very aggressive, I like to pressure and I like to stalk. She is also aggressive and a brawler like I am.”
“It kind of just came back all around,” said Lambert. “One year later we’re going to be fighting each other again not too far from where we fought each other in the first place. I feel like I’ve grown a lot, not just as a person, but as a boxer too. To put that against the same person that I fought, it would just be like poetry. It’s a perfect setup.”