Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gloves Title Gives St. Louis Renewed Punch

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gloves Title Gives St. Louis Renewed Punch

Article excerpt

Quiet Kelly Wright struck a blow several blows, in fact - last week for the fading status of St. Louis amateur boxing.

Wright, a 112-pound senior from Wellston High, slugged his way to a Golden Gloves national championship last week in Lowell, Mass.

Three other St. Louisans - Karoz Norman at 106, Chantel Stanciel at 139 and heavyweight Germaine Thedford - reached the semifinals.

The locals tied for fourth among 30 teams. St. Louis, as always, was one of the few teams representing a city and not a region.

Cincinnati and New York City won with 22 points. Knoxville had 17, with St. Louis and Texas tied at 15.

Fighters normally needed to win four fights to claim a title. Each victory was worth one point.

Team manager Steve Holley said St. Louis might have won the title if not for three avoidable setbacks.

"We didn't have a light-heavyweight because Eric Benford couldn't get off work," Holley said. "Four or five kids showed up out of shape and lost fights they shouldn't have. And (Ed) Mahone would have won it all if he had been there."

Mahone, the super-heavyweight from Pagedale, did not enter the Golden Gloves qualifier here.

Last month in Colorado Springs he was the only St. Louisan to reach the semifinals of the USA Boxing nationals. Team scores were not kept, but Holley said St. Louis fell deep into the bottom third.

That debacle led to an indignity unknown here for a quarter-century. USA Boxing's select team - three fighters at each of 12 weight classes - features no St. Louisans.

Against that grim backdrop, Wright's Golden Gloves title was especially refreshing.

Wright qualified automatically for the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival in Colorado. He trains at the Wellston Rec Center for Team St. Louis coach Ben Stewart.

"Kelly doesn't say 10 words," Holley said. "He just took care of business. He didn't have a lot of unnecessary movement. He was very focused."

Stanciel, 20, was impressive enough to make the USA Boxing invitation list for a national training camp in Colorado Springs. He trains here at 12th & Park.

Norman, a 106-pound youngster from Wellston, impressed coach Al Mitchell of the Olympic Education Development Program. …

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