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Pittsburgh is turning into the mecca of boxing as evidenced by the standing room only crowd that packed Saddle Ridge in Station Square April 17. The State Golden Gloves Open Class Championships is a show that brings a genuine who’s who of past and present stars.

CHAMPIONS—2010 Pennsylvania State Golden Gloves champions Anthony Burgin, Keivon Paschl, Donovan Malovich, Robby Dinero, Mark Rideout, Tyrell Colston, Damon Allen, Khalib Whitmore, Andreas Kamerouyou and Vinnie Macellaro.

The matches this year were outstanding. The Pennsylvania Golden Gloves never had it so good. And there was one among them who proved he was a “cut above the rest”—Andreas Kamerouyou, this year’s Apollo and amateur boxing’s new Sun God, brought the fans from the edge of their seat to cheering on their feet with his explosive power. Kamerouyou, 152-pounder from South Park Boxing Club, defeated Stafford Weatherburne of Harrisburg to earn a gold medal and a trip to Little Rock, Ark., May 3-8, for the National Golden Gloves Tournament.

The Steel City’s version of Hercules, Carrick’s very own warrior god, Vinnie Macellaro, conquered those monsters of doubt and uncertainty voiced by those who believed he wouldn’t even make it through the early preliminary rounds and ascended to his rightful place as the toughest 165-pounder in the state of Pennsylvania by defeating Rashad Brown from the Upper Darby Boxing Club. And just like the Hercules of myth, slaying nine-headed serpents, Macellaro earned his place among the gods. Nothing was handed to the former Brashear High School football star. He became a state champion by living his credo: “I know if I work hard, I can do anything I set my mind to.”

“It was great to see the crowd and energy,” said model and actress Elyse Alberts. “I’m excited to see how Andreas and Vinnie represent our Steel City in Arkansas and it would be great if they can make it all the way to the Olympics.”

Controversy, however, again seems to follow Robby Colasante, from South Park Boxing Club. Just like last year, Colasante appeared to win every round but the judges award the victory to Anthony Burgin of Joe Hand Boxing Club.

STAR POWER— USA Boxing champ and Olympic hopeful Tika Hemingway is shown with 178-pound winner Khalib Whitmore, left, from the Concrete Jungle Boxing Club and Scott Alfer from the South Park Boxing Club.

Talented southpaw Francesco Wilkerson, 132-pound division from East Side WPAL, fought his heart out and was looking forward to fighting for a national championship in 2010. Unfortunately, the entire plan backfired on Wilkerson when he lost a close decision against the experienced Damon Allen of Mitch Allen Boxing Club.

For Amonte Eberhardt, 141-pound division from 3rd Ave. WPAL, the light began to flicker in the latter half of 2009 when he started to look like a world-beater, showing great quickness and power. But, he lost a very close decision to defending state champion Arturo Trujillo of Lehigh Valley Boxing Club.

“Amonte Eberhardt reminds me of a young Sugar Ray Leonard,” said Luther Dupree, host of Steel City Sportsworld. “He has great energy and fires a lot of punches. Once he gains a bit more experience, the sky is the limit.”

Khalib Whitmore, 178-division from Concrete Jungle Boxing Club, manhandled Scott Alfer of South Park Boxing Club, easily winning a unanimous decision.

If you subscribe to the adage “bigger is better” when it comes to boxing, you have to be a fan of Tyrell Colston of Young Guns Boxing Club. The Golden Gloves instituted the super heavyweight class a few years ago in response to the need to give the “smaller” guys in the 175-205 range a fighting chance. Colston knocked out Kyle Kriamakbar, of Flood City Boxing Club, in the third round and moves on to the national championship.

Fast Lane Boxing Club’s Mark Rideout, super-heavyweight division, out-pointed Fred Latham of East Side WPAL.

In the grand scheme of things, Western Pennsylvania’s two victories seem to amount to throwing a deck chair off the Titanic, but it does seem to be a bone of contention for Pittsburgh.

“Yes, we’re disappointed but we are getting close,” said Jimmy “Mad Dog” Cvetic, executive director and founder of Western Pennsylvania Police Athletic League. “I thought the Colasante and Eberhardt fights were very close and could have gone either way. Francesco Wilkerson and Fred Latham both have the talent and they are being trained by Darren Dolby.”

What’s the one thing most boxers dream about when they hit the sack at night? To be a champion. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that leads to this sacred treasure.

Don’t let the tournament results determine how high you can sour. In the Kentucky Derby, the winning horse effectively runs out of oxygen after the first half mile, and goes the rest of the way on heart. To defeat Philadelphia, to win a National championship and to fight professionally, it’s going to take blood, guts and the heart-beat of a champion.

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