Â Â Bouts on March 24th , March 30 and April 7th
By Sally DeeringÂ
Photos by Sally Deering and Joe Botti
â€œThey used Golden Gloves as a jumpstart to professional careers,â€ Botti says.
Herkin DeLaRosa, 20, of Union City, has 26 fights under his belt and sees a Golden Gloves title as his opportunity to go pro.
â€œEverybody wants to be a Golden Gloves champion,â€ DeLaRosa says. â€œIt means a lot of hard work. Itâ€™s like a goal to me. I get to compete in the Nationals.â€
DeLaRosa is one of ten boxers at the Union City Gym who will be competing in the 2012 New Jersey Golden Gloves amateur boxing championshipâ€™s preliminaries for a shot at the nationals.
The team also includes Felix Tejada, Jose Aviles and Johnny Hernandez of Union City; William Arevalo, Anthony Valentini, Jarrett Blair and Gino Montero of Jersey City; Carlos Lopez of North Bergen; and Hector Melendez of Hoboken.
Melendez, 17, has won 20 fights and two Diamond Glove championships. He also takes AP classes at Hoboken High School and plans to major in economics in college.
â€œI want 70 amateur fights before I go pro,â€ Melendez says. â€œI want to travel, spar in different places. Iâ€™m trying to get experience. I only lost one fight. I think boxing will open doors for me.â€
Melendez also has high praises for his trainer.
â€œJoe Botti, heâ€™s great,â€ Melendez says. â€œItâ€™s not about money; he does this for free. He cares about his fighters. He does a lot for us and we do for him. I fight hard in the ring. Itâ€™s my way of paying him back. Itâ€™s not always about boxing. Itâ€™s about family. Heâ€™s like a dad.â€