On March 28th, Long Beach’s own DG Boxing Gym came one step closer to becoming a household name in the sport of boxing. A 132-lb. boxer named Alonso Icedo challenged the southern California novice champion in a ferocious bout during the 2015 California Golden Gloves Regional Qualifier, one of the most renowned amateur boxing tournaments in the United States. For three rounds, Icedo proved the effectiveness of the boxing style that trainer Dave Gonzalez teaches his fighters: nonstop aggression and a high punch output. After the final bell rang, fighters and referee coalesced in the middle of the ring amid relative silence that everybody might hear the decision. The victory was not to go to the Long Beach boxer.
“Alonso’s training and style is what got him to the [Golden Gloves] finals. I didn’t want to change anything about the way he fought.” says trainer Dave Gonzalez of his athlete. In the end, the movement of Icedo’s final opponent proved just elusive enough to win him the decision. The unfortunate loss for DG Boxing was not for lack of effort and skill on the part of Icedo nor Gonzalez. Gonzalez, or “DG” as his boxers affectionately call him, has now been training fighters at his namesake gym for over 15 years, though it has only been in the last 2 years that he has dedicated himself to training fighters to compete at the California Golden Gloves.
“The Golden Gloves tournament is special because of it’s reputation.” states Gonzalez. Indeed, there are Golden Gloves tournaments in over 20 states as well as the National Golden Gloves, the latter of which produced many notable champions including Oscar De La Hoya and Roy Jones Jr. Though unconcerned with the notoriety that winning such a title might bring DG Boxing, boxers and coach seem hellbent on claiming the title. “I feel coaching a winning fighter [at the Golden Gloves] will help me establish myself as a coach.” Gonzalez continues, “Once, we win our first Golden Gloves, we should be taking home a win in the novice division every year after that,” owing to the double-edged sword of success and increasing expectations.
Increasing pressure to succeed seems a small hindrance to DG Boxing’s most competitive athletes, however. Both Alonso Icedo and Golden Gloves teammate Jarret Jeter have professional aspirations in the pugilistic sport of boxing. “I was nervous before the final fight,” admits Icedo, “But once I’m actually headed into the ring to fight, all the nerves go away.” The 28 year-old fighter answers with a confidence that expounds a phenomenon that many serious fighters report in their pre-bout experience: once the action begins, distractions fade into the background.
Last year, Gonzalez recruited a group of 14 boxers to compete in the Golden Gloves. This year, the Golden Gloves “dream team” began with 15 recruits but dwindled to just 3 as the militant intensity of the physical and mental preparation began to set in. In keeping with numerical tradition, Gonzalez intends to recruit a roster of 16 boxers to compete at the 2016 California Golden Gloves. However, Gonzalez plans to build next year’s team entirely with female boxers. Says Gonzalez, “Choosing to recruit an all-female team is just a matter of preference. And to change up what I’ve been doing.”
Gonzalez will be holding try-outs for the 2016 Golden Gloves team April 15th and 29th for female boxers in any 105lb.-130lb. weight classes. And while it is unlikely that all 16 boxers will represent DG Boxing at the next California Golden Gloves, the momentum of this year’s victories seems poised to bring those dedicated few one step closer still to achieving the victory they are all sweating for.
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