Golden Eagles at the Golden Gloves

Mary Rose Halloran, Staff writer


Chicago has a lively amateur boxing scene, and NEIU is proud to have a piece of the action this time around! Under the leadership of Coach Israel “Izzy” Gonzalez, three dedicated NEIU students are competing in the Chicago Golden Gloves.
The National Golden Gloves is an annual amateur boxing competition where the winners of local Golden Gloves titles compete for the national championship title. Of all the Golden Gloves tournaments held in the nation, the Chicago Golden Gloves is considered by many boxing aficionados to be an elite championship. Many fighters go on to compete professionally and for the USA Olympic team.
For fans of boxing, there is never a dull moment at the Chicago Golden Gloves. No two bouts are alike. Some fighters go at each other in a wild street style of boxing, while other boxers demonstrate a more controlled, technical style. Both male and female fighters of all weight divisions compete in this tournament. Most of them represent inner-city boxing clubs.
NEIU’s own boxing club is unique in that Gonzalez welcomes all levels of fitness and skill into his workout program. Many fighting gyms around the city take advantage of their patrons and trainees, but at NEIU, safety, sportsmanship, and developing a sense of personal dedication are the priorities.
The three Golden Gloves contenders started at NEIU Boxing Club with little or no previous boxing experience and are now Golden Gloves contenders. Gonzalez trained hundreds of students and community members, all with different fitness goals – many of them never intending to see the ring. But for those that want to box competitively, reaching the Chicago Golden Gloves is a dream, and Gonzalez has helped foster the dedication necessary to get there.
The first NEIU contender fought on Friday, March 8, 2013. Heavyweight Michael “Big Mike” Olaworetan displayed a great amount of technical skill and heart, but ended up losing his match. When reflecting on why he lost, Olaworetan stated, “Every successful boxer needs that ‘it’ factor and mine wasn’t there that night.” But he isn’t giving up fighting. When asked about his plans for his future in boxing, “For now, I’m just going to focus on bettering my conditioning, going down to heavyweight and utilizing more combinations.”
Two more bouts also featured NEIU fighters: Alfa Diallo fought Thursday, March 14, and Orest Sosnivka fought on Friday, March 15. This was the first round of the tournament; championship bouts are held in mid-April.
This year, the Chicago Golden Gloves are being hosted at The Cicero Stadium at 1909 S. Laramie in Cicero, IL. For ticket prices and fight nights, visit:

NEIU’s boxing club meets Monday through Friday 3-5pm in the auxiliary gym. The NEIU Boxing Club is open to all levels of skill and fitness and Gonzalez works with individuals personally to meet their own fitness goals. Gonzalez also promotes student involvement and leadership by spearheading many community-oriented fitness, health and wellness programs.
Whether you are interested in serious training in the sport, or just looking for a challenging and fun workout with a tight-knit group of students, the NEIU Boxing Club is a unique fitness club right here on campus. For more information, contact Israel Gonzalez at [hide_email [email protected]]