ANDERSON — Back in 1923, an idea by Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Ward turned into an amateur boxing tournament. The winners of each weight class received a miniature golden glove as a trophy, giving birth to what is now called the Golden Gloves of America, Inc.
A few past champions of the Golden Gloves National Tournament include some of boxing’s greats: Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson.
On Monday, two local boxers look to write their names in history as they enter the ring to compete for the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions.
The event is to be held at the Las Vegas Hotel in Nevada and will run through May 17. Anderson natives Javar Jones and Steven Perry train at the Geater Center in Anderson under the tutelage of boxing trainer Mark Lemerick, former boxing champion and current Madison County prosecutor Rodney Cummings and Parks and Recreation superintendent Stephon Blackwell.
The fighters go through a variety of training sessions at Geater with the focus on stamina.
“The main thing is conditioning,” Perry said. “Being able to last three rounds at a high intensity level, conditioning is the most important thing.”
Jones, 21, is a three-time Indiana Golden Gloves lightweight open division champion. He was a member of the final graduating class at Highland in 2010, and fights in the 132-pound lightweight division.
Jones began boxing 13 years ago after a visit with an older cousin and a movie marathon.
“He sat me down and made me watch the entire ‘Rocky’ series,” Jones said of his visit with his cousin. “After that, I was hooked.”
His list of accomplishments include holding the title in the USA Boxing Open Division in the lightweight class and runner up in the USA Boxing National Championship back in March. Jones won the gold at the All Army Boxing Championships and a silver medal at the U.S. Nationals, which earned him a World Class Athlete designation.