Hard-working Boxer Punching in for Another Shot at Gloves

January 9, 2019
Chelmsford native Zack Dalton is getting ready for his second go-round in the Golden Gloves Tournament, beginning Thursday. SUN/CARMINE FRONGILLO Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

LOWELL -- Zack Dalton didn’t need to take a crash course at the school of hard knocks to realize there’s much more to the amateur fight game than the elementary act of beating your opponent to the punch.

Dalton was taught early on about the value of working to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed, along with the need to learn from mistakes, and the important role these traits play in having your arm raised in victory after three rounds of fury.

Although the challenges are often daunting, Dalton, 20, a former football player and wrestler at Chelmsford High, has proven he possesses the staying power needed to withstand the rigors of the ring.

Like most of the boxers who train at the West End Gym in Lowell, Dalton is eager to test his will to win when the 73rd annual Greater Lowell/Central New England Golden Gloves Tournament gets underway at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium Thursday at 7:30.

Dalton will compete in the 165-pound Novice Division this year.

“I always loved boxing and I wanted to give it a shot,” said Dalton. “I tried it a little bit when I was younger and then stopped for awhile. But after high school I felt why not go for it? And I got back into it.

“When I began training here (at the West End) it was the first time I boxed competitively. It was very different than I thought it would be. You come into the gym thinking you know certain things and you’ll be able to do good and handle yourself.

“You might be able to hold your own, somewhat, but once you get in there with someone who actually knows what they’re doing, and has all the techniques, you learn pretty quick how much you don’t know.”

Dalton was a defensive lineman on Chelmsford’s football team who played in the trenches at 180 pounds. He made his Golden Gloves debut at 152 pounds last winter, and lost his opening bout.

Dalton turned in an impressive showing while winning his only bout at 165 in June. His record is 1-2.

“He’s one of the hardest workers in the gym,” said West End gym owner, Arthur Ramalho. “He’s in great shape. He’s the type of kid you can’t help but root for. He’s here every day no matter what, even when’s he’s not feeling good. He works hard and he punches hard. I think he’s going to have a good tournament.”

Dalton is chasing after his boxing dreams with the same intensity he displayed on the gridiron. The physical attribute that serves him best at this point in his boxing career is his ears. Dalton is willing to listen and learn.

“He’s very coachable,” said Dalton’s trainer Brian Powers. “He does what he’s told. He’s a real hard worker. He’s at the gym more than I am. He’s moving so much better than last year. He doesn’t just stand and throw. His speed has increased. He’s always had a lot of power. I’ve been hit by him by accident while training him and it wasn’t fun.

“Another year of experience makes a big difference. The first year (in the Golden Gloves) everybody is nervous. The second year you still have some jitters, but at least you know what the Golden Gloves is all about. The more you do it, the less your surroundings bother you. He’ll be ready to fight.”

Dalton has no intention of pulling any punches in his bid to try and bang his way to a coveted Golden Gloves crown.

“The atmosphere (at the Golden Gloves) is great,” said Dalton. “It’s a great place to fight. The big thing for me is staying calm and focusing on all the stuff I went over while training. You have to keep your emotions in check and fight your fight.”

You won’t find a Gloves boxer more prepared to fight his fight than Dalton.

“At a tournament like this, a little confidence can take you a long way,” said Powers. “Once you get that first win, you might get on a run and anything is possible. Who knows what will happen from there?”

Dalton would love to find out.

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