LOOKING FOR AN OPENING—Gordon Kirkland, right, looks for an opening against James Volker in a 95 LBS bout at the Golden Gloves Championships, Kirkland won the match

Pittsburgh is turning into the mecca of boxing.  A standing room only crowd packed The Grand Hall at the North Side Priory Hotel April 4 to see the best amateur boxers in the area square off.

The Western Pennsylvania Golden Gloves championship is a show that brings a genuine who’s who of past and present stars.

It seems Pittsburgh is no longer the hinterlands of Amateur boxing.  The fighters from Pittsburgh made enormous progress over the last few years.

Team Pittsburgh has already became one of the biggest stories in boxing when they defeated Team Ireland 6-5 in March, and now everyone wants to see if they can upset Philadephia’s best in the state championships.


GIRLS GO AT IT—Jane Quienlin, left, and Caitlyn Engler mix it up in a Golden Gloves Championship bout, Engler won the hard fought bout. (Photos William McBride)

It might be a touch premature to call Caleb Parish a transcendent fighter, but he is getting to that stage.  The West Allegheny Boxing Club 152-pound junior middleweight is no longer known only to local fans.

His profile rose significantly in March when he knocked out, all 11 stones of, Eddie Mills of Ireland national team.

Parrish, 18-years old, treats boxing more like a religion than a sport.  He studies fighters from the past and it is this kind of dedication that helped him defeat one of the most decorated boxers in Pittsburgh.

Amonte Eberhardt is a former state golden glove champion and national contender.  Parrish was able to out point Eberhardt and won a very close split decision in the main event.

In a sport where the line between confidence and arrogance is forever blurred, Kiante Irving, 165-pound division from Stay off the Streets, is a fighter with the height and power of Tommy Hearns; he has the jab of Larry Holmes; “The Swag” of a Floyd Mayweather; but the poor stamina of Tommy Morrison.

Irving completely dominated Lucas Adams, of Butler, in rounds one and two but had his mouth open and was looking for some oxygen by the end of the third and final round.

“Tommy Yankello and I believe Irving will win the state championship easily and should win the national,” said long time boxing trainer and corner man Kevin Corlew.  “Roy Jones Jr., knows about this kid and he’ll be with TNT and Roy Jones Jr., promotions once he turns Pro.”


MIXING IT UP—Quienton Jackson, left, of Pittsburgh throws a punch at Ray Moore of Ellwood City , Jackson went on to win the 119 LBS bout.

Talented southpaw Danny Buckley, in the 141-pound division from Steel City Boxing Club, upset the very experience and active duty Marine soldier Rosalindo Morales of Ellwood City Boxing Club.  Buckley, 20-years old, didn’t begin to box until he turned 18 but he quickly rose to the top of the division.  Buckley has rare skills and stamina that you can’t teach.  He was born to be a fighter.  Morales fought his heart out, but was no match for Buckley.  The light began to flicker in the latter half of 2013 for Buckley and now he looks like a world-beater, who shows quickness, power and great lateral movement that he learned from years of playing basketball.

“What a huge shift the boxing world is taking on in Pittsburgh,” said Alishia Sparks, of Youngstown, Ohio and owner of Sparkle and Shine makeup.  “The Priory is such a beautiful location.  The boxing community is thriving in Pittsburgh and I can’t wait for the world to catch on!  It’s only a matter of time!”

“Maddog” Jimmy Cvetic, retired Allegheny County police, and owner of the Third Avenue Gym.  For 33 years he’s been working with kids—some troubled, some not, but all in need of direction.  And through his Police Athletic League, Cvetic has taught hundreds of kids of all ages how to box.  Cvetic puts on between 20 and 30 amateur boxing shows per year and is the director of the Golden Gloves in Pittsburgh.

While Cvetic doesn’t necessarily seek media attention—he was the major star in national reality TV show “White Collar Brawlers” and Johnny Spell, Darren Dolby and Allen Levine, “The Talking Machine” had minor roles.

Now that Cvetic’s fan appeal has gone beyond the Pittsburgh area and become national, it is fair to wonder if he might change now that he is in the spotlight.

“Everything that I do is for the kids,” said “Mad Dog” Cvetic.  “I’m going to open 2 more gyms.  One in Homewood and one on the Hill. We are bringing Mike Tyson to Pittsburgh to talk to the kids and he’ll autograph a bunch of stuff.”

Other winners: 119 int Quienton Jackson, 125-open Caitlyn Engler, 152-subnovice Craig Kido, 165-subnovice John Stein, 125-subnovice Loren Holmes.


THE CHAMP—Quienton Jackson of Northside Boxing shows off his trophy after winning the 119 LBS Golden Gloves Championship.

Walkover winners: 132-open, Johnny Spell, 178-open Jarrell Bracket, 141-division Shirne Ghist, 201-open John Doyle, 201-plus Brian Kelly.


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