Golden Gloves regional boxing tournament returns to Memphis after 52 years

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:28 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Golden Gloves boxing returned to Memphis earlier this month for the first time in 52 years.

The City’s Office of Youth Services said the boxing tournament will return next year, but you might be surprised who we found around the ring.

You’d expect fighters like Jamel Clark at the Golden Gloves.

”I want to go far in this. I want to go pro. I want to go all the way to the top,” said Clark.

You could predict the presence of a Memphis boxing wisdom figure in the person of 87-year-old Pete Mitchell.

”I think what we’re trying to do is keep boxing before the kids,” said Mitchell.

Events like these happen through the hard work of promoters. Ike Griffith of the city’s Office of Youth Services played the role.

“I really want to see the national Golden Gloves in the city of Memphis and we’re going to be working toward that,” Griffith said.

But the person you might not expect around the ring is Cheryl Schlitt, a Cordova boxing gym owner and judge.

”I know the contact and everything gets a little scary,” said Schlitt. “But the point is NOT to get hit. So, with your good coach and your slips and your moves, you have to learn the science behind boxing.”

Schlitt uses the science of boxing to help Parkinson’s patients at her gym, a nonprofit called Rock Steady Boxing Memphis.

“Everything, it has been shown scientifically, that a boxer does to gain his skill is what a person with Parkinson’s loses,” said Schlitt.

So, the Golden Gloves will be back next year. But Schlitt and her Rock Steady team are here all the time for those in a fight with Parkinson’s.

“It’s not just throwing punches. There is a method behind the madness,” she said.

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