KANSAS CITY, Kan. — One of the area’s longest sporting traditions is happening in Kansas City, Kansas, this weekend, bringing a test of wills to the squared circle.
Dozens of amateur boxers will compete in the the 86th annual Kansas City Regional Golden Gloves tournament this weekend.
“There’s so many other easier sports, but at the end of the day, you just fall in love with it,” Izak Carlos said of his passion for boxing.
“The plan of the game is to hit and not get hit,” his brother Jorge Carlos said. “Most of the time I’m not really the one getting hit.”
When you step into Turner Boxing Gym, you see the trophies, boxers young and old from featherweight to heavyweight of all different backgrounds.
“You step into a gym, and there’s a place for everyone here,” boxer Missy Fitzwater said. “I came from self-esteem issues, so when I came to the gym, I felt like I finally had a place to fit in.”
And of course, there’s also a coach barking out instructions at Turner.
There’s high expectations for this small gym producing multiple national champions.
“Coming from a gym like this and then going to go compete at nationals, it’s a huge achievement,” Izak Carlos said.
The Carlos brothers are national contenders.
“As soon as you step in the ring, it all goes away,” Jorge said. “It becomes more natural.”
“I usually set the pace, so I use my long distance and my movement,” Izak added. “When you win, I’m like, I’m the man.”
For Fitzwater, a 3-time area champion, training with the guys “was intimidating at first, but they’re so great.” Still, she’s excited to get a chance to compete nationally against other women.
“You’d always see the boys go off to nationals and kind of break my heart a little bit, but that first year I could actually get in the ring and be in there with them, it was extremely exciting,” she said.
This weekend is the time to prove they’re the best at Memorial Hall in KCK as they get set to compete in the regional Golden Gloves tournament.
“There’s all kinds of fans … boxing fans everywhere,” Jorge said.
“It’s one of the best tournaments of the year,” Fitzwater said. “It’s your crowd, and it’s exciting.”