NAUGATUCK — The tiny gymnasium nestled in the basement of the Naugatuck YMCA took on a Madison Square Garden atmosphere April 11 for the 63rd annual Joe Triano/Joe Rossi Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament.
Thirty boxers lined the card in three age groups as family, friends and boxing fans filled the bleachers to cheer on the young athletes.
“This is my ninth year with the program that was started by Joe Triano and Joe Rossi 63 years ago,” promoter and head referee Dave Cassetti said. “The program has dropped off in recent years, but we are looking to build it back up again.”
Cassetti has been hard at work with head instructor and coach Scott Selinske to get the boxers ready for the main event. The YMCA runs an instructional program that met once a week beginning last year.
“We train the kids once a week starting in December for an hour,” Selinske said. “It builds a lot of confidence among the young kids. We want to keep that legacy going between Triano and Rossi, who gave so much for the youth of Naugatuck.”
Group one featured matches between 5- to 7-year-olds: Colton Blackwell vs. Isabella DeForge; Jacob Trombley vs. Cory Murphy; Jaden Woods vs. Aiden Kane; Wyldbill Hicock vs. Eddie Acevedo; Chase Hedron vs. Jayden Dixon.
Kane and DeForge were named the most improved out of group one.
Group two featured matches between 8- and 9-year-olds: Josh Zollo vs. Chris Ferguson; Teaghan Linhard vs. Christine Sardo; Dave Cassetti vs. Hunter Frutal; Leo Arizmendi vs. Joe Arcovia; Declan Connolly vs. Zac Carbonaro.
Zollo was named the most improved out of group two.
Group three featured matches between 10- to 13-year-olds: Preston D’Zabubina vs. Angelo DiLorenzo; Chris Kaminski vs. Sonny DiLorenzo; Dave Cassetti vs. Dave Blackwell; Joe Rafala vs. Ryan Jones; Tanner Linhard vs. Seth Clark.
Rafala was named the most improved out of group three. Clark was named the Boxer of the Year.