AP NEWS

Hazleton Native Captures PA Golden Gloves Crown

March 31, 2019

DICKSON CITY — Another Golden Gloves tournament and another championship for Adrian Diaz.

Diaz, of Hazleton, earned a win on points over Luis Colon in the 141-pound open class championship fight at the Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Central District championships in front of a crowd of 1,025 at Genetti Manor on Saturday.

It was the fourth district title for Diaz. He and the rest of Saturday’s winners advance to the Regional Championships on April 6 at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.

Diaz started the first round with his jab and then ducked and landed a left to the body. In the second round, he switched to a southpaw stance and started pushing the action, but Colon caught him with a straight right. Diaz answered with a strong left.

“I switched in the second round to change it up and see if I could land some more punches,” Diaz said. “But only a couple did. I need to work more on my southpaw stance.”

The fighters traded shots with Colon against the ropes in the third round and Diaz then landed a good straight right to the body and followed it up with a left hook.

“I’ve learned that when you’re tired, you need to keep pushing forward,” Diaz said. “There are a lot of great fighters here and we just put in the work and do what we do.”

Seasoned amateurs

In a fight between two boxers with more than 100 amateur fights each, Xavian Ramirez of Reading earned a victory on points over Howard Cheatham from the Irish Boxing Club in the championship bout in the 123-pound open class.

Ramirez came in with a sparkling résumé, including Silver National Golden Gloves champion, Junior Olympics champion and Under 18 national champion. But Cheatham, who moved to the area from Philadelphia six months ago, was more than game and was able to match Ramirez’s lightning quickness.

Ramirez landed a stinging right in the second round, but Cheatham answered with a solid combination to the body. In the third round, Cheatham landed a left but Ramirez caught him coming in with a quick left hook. Cheatham answered with a nice left, but Ramirez landed a couple of solid right hands to draw an 8-count.

Masters champions

In addition to the Golden Gloves tournament bouts, the card had three Masters Division fights. All three bouts were in the 185-pound division and the winners received championship belts. Shawn McFadden of Moscow earned a belt with a victory on points over Tom Rosa of Connecticut.

McFadden started the fight with his jab and then landed a nice left-right combination upstairs. Rosa landed a stinging shot to the body, but McFadden pushed forward and landed a few shots as Rosa backed against the ropes. Throughout the three-round fight, McFadden was able to score when Rosa was against the ropes.

“When his guard went up and his head went down, I knew he was against the ropes and I could go to town,” McFadden said.

In the third round, McFadden landed six straight punches with Rosa against the ropes and then, later, ended a flurry with a big left hand to draw an 8-count.

“It’s amazing,” McFadden said. “This is a dream come true. I get to do what I love to in front of my kids and the young guys from the gym.”

Jim Babkowski of Avoca earned a title belt with a win on points over Ritchy Montano of Oregon.

Babkowski showed off a strong right hand in all three rounds. He landed a straight right hand and a solid right hook in the first round. In the second round, after a good exchange, Babkowski scored with a strong left to draw an 8-count. With Babkowski in the corner, Montano was able to land to the body, but Babkowski ended the round with another strong right hand. He started the third round with the jab but caught Montano with a quick right hook as Montano tried to come inside.

In the final fight of the card, Nick D’Amico earned a masters title belt with a win on points over Matt Conboy of Kingston.

D’Amico came out of the corner at the start and landed a good straight right. Conboy answered with a stinging left but D’Amico connected on another right to draw an 8-count.

Conboy landed a good left to start the second round but D’Amico scored with a left-right combination upstairs. D’Amico caught him with another strong straight right and then connected with a right to the body and followed with one to the head.

Conboy started the third round strong with a right and two lefts. He landed another left but D’Amico answered with a right hand to earn a victory in his first fight.

Contact the writer:

hsmith@timesshamrock.com