The 2016 Dallas Golden Gloves: Our Club’s Visit to the Twilight Zone

By K.L. Romo on February 6, 2016
The 2016 Dallas Golden Gloves: Our Club’s Visit to the Twilight Zone
Why was there so much bias, and so many bizarre decisions at the Dallas Golden Gloves?

The crowd booed, louder than our coach had ever heard a crowd boo a decision at the Golden Gloves. Even the ladies in the snack bar booed…

The Golden Gloves — long considered the ultimate tournament for boxers. The place to prove yourself. The place to show your skill. The Bar Mitzvah for working-family kids.

But the place to learn hard lessons in politics and partiality?

The Venue

The Dallas Regional Golden Gloves tournament was not held in Dallas, but in the suburb of Garland. Why? We don’t know. And why at the local Hella Shrine Temple, which isn’t large enough to accommodate so many fans? We don’t know that either. Not only is the location anything but prime, but our club, along with many of the other clubs participating, didn’t appreciate being treated rudely by the staff hosting the event. 

Our gym took 23 fighters to the Dallas Golden Gloves. Our youngest fighter is 10. All clubs were required to be there at 9:00 AM, and the temperature outside was 29 degrees, with a cold wind blowing. Every team was required to wait outside until each specific team was called for weigh-ins. So our kids froze, standing outside under the words written in big letters on the side of the building — SHRINERS CARE FOR KIDS. Ironic? After 20 minutes, our coach asked if the kids could come inside the building, and was told by the “door guard” that we “didn’t have to participate at this event. It was our choice. We could wait in the car.” So the kids went back to the car, but our coach waited in the cold, as someone had to listen for the teams to be called.

Bizarre Decisions

Several of our fighters received outlandish decisions that left people shaking their heads in confusion. Weren’t the judges watching the same fights that everyone else saw? During the tournament, we watched three of our best fighters go down to very questionable decisions. OK, sometimes it rolls that way.

But in watching our 16-year-old heavyweight beat his opponent to a pulp for three whole rounds, our coach wondered why the fight wasn’t stopped? It was so bad he was afraid the other kid would get hurt. But the fight proceeded for the full three rounds. And the decision: the other boxer was given the win! Really?

The crowd booed, louder than our coach had ever heard a crowd boo a decision at the Golden Gloves. Even the ladies in the snack bar booed. And as the crowd kept booing, the decision was changed! What a strange and bizarre scene that was.

Then one of our other boxers fought at an open 165, against a young man whose greatest skill was holding on to our fighter’s body for dear life. At one point, the other boxer held on so tight that when he released his hold, he ripped our boxer’s shirt off his chest, and the fight was paused to change shirts. Seriously? Another sight our coach had never seen in boxing. Finally, the one boxer had a point deducted. But then a point was deducted from us as well. Why? Your guess is as good as ours.

During this fight, the opponent put his arms around our boxer’s waist in a hugging fashion, picked him up (feet off the ground), and flipped him onto the canvas on his back, like a wrestling move. Was there a penalty given? No.But our fighter who was flipped was given an eight-count. An eight-count! For being subjected to a wrestling take-down in the boxing ring? Wow!

Later in the fight, our boxer hit his opponent with a well-placed uppercut, and he went down. But guess what? No eight-count! It was ruled a slip!

Our fighter was the taller, bigger opponent. He scored more punches than the other fighter. But when it went to the decision, who won the fight? Yep, you guessed it.The other guy was awarded the win.

Safety Shrugged

Issues brought up by coaches weren’t properly addressed, even safety concerns. Our coach was informed that a young man on another team had been a professional boxer with too many losses on his record, so he changed his name and was now fighting as a novice. We had eyewitnesses and text messages confirming our accusation. Our coach informed the officials, who spoke with the boxer, who denied everything. “Your fighter has to box him,” our coach was told.

A novice fighting for the first time ever had to fight a former professional? Why didn’t the officials investigate? Where was the concern for the safety of the boxers?  Our coach decided to withdraw our boxer from the fight, to keep him safe. Of course, the pro boxer took the win by default, and proceeded on in the tournament.


Why was there so much bias, and so many bizarre decisions at the Dallas Golden Gloves? Boxers, coaches, and parents of boxers continue to ask that question. One reason might be the recent USA Boxing officer elections for the Dallas area. Maybe the results didn’t sit well with some, and maybe the relationships between the clubs has been tainted. This program is for the kids, but is run by adult volunteers and volunteer organizations. Yet the volunteers sometimes get in the way, and the kids are the ones who suffer. We all share common goals — the welfare, safety, and good-sportsmanship of our boxers. But apparently at the Golden Gloves, there are private agendas at play.

The System is Flawed

1) The Golden Gloves is a franchise, and not a non-profit organization.
2) The system is antiquated, and lacks usage of modern devices such as score boards, instant video replay, or other marking systems.
3) The money raised from the Golden Gloves does not go back to the program.

Our Suggestions

1) Make the judging process more transparent, as in the Olympics. Let the coaches and the crowd see the score as it occurs.
2) Make use of instant replay — other sports use it. This would ensure the correct calls are made.
3) Revamp the system so there is accountability and consistency in applying the rules and awarding the proper decisions.
4) Maybe if there were no elections, but appointments instead, the private agendas would be eliminated. 

Will our club fight in the Dallas Golden Gloves next year? Maybe not. What a shame.

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  1. Taz64 10:40am, 02/15/2016

    My daughter also fought in the Dallas golden gloves. She fought Olympic style boxing that has taken her internationally against an opponent whose fight plan was to hold her any chance she could. She continually held her and fouled her with blows to the back of her head and back with the palm of her hand. The referee in her bout did not call any of the holding or fouls. 

    After the bout an individual came up to me and said he was standing by her opponent’s coaches prior to the bout and overheard them tell her not to box her but, to get in her head by holding any chance she could. I was shocked when the decision was read not because of the loss but on the merits of the loss. It seemed AIBA and USA Boxing rules did not apply to all. I had several coaches and individuals tell me that was the wrong decision and you can imagine how the crowd reacted.

    A few days later I had a few well respected Amateur and Professional Coaches review the video of the bout and it was agreed the fight was stolen from us. The feed back we received proved to more valuable the any belt she could have won. She understands the politics and she is committed to stay true to her training and Olympic style boxing. See you in Tokyo in 2020.

    In another incident involving one of my fighters she won the championship and her opponent was awarded the best female fight of the tournament….how does that happen when you lose? Or was it another attempt to make things right as was the case according to a statement off the record of an official when the best male fight of the tournament was awarded. It was an act of Judges saving face for awarding the wrong fighter the win in that bout.

    Very disappointed from day one in 2016 Dallas Golden Gloves and now realize we weren’t the only ones and it answers the question why so many Dallas gyms chose not to participate.

  2. Your Name 11:51am, 02/13/2016

    Yep my son won but the decision was given to his opponent. The crowd also booed when the other fighter was announced the winner. He had fighters and coaches from other teams tell him he won that fight and was stolen from him. Its all good though BC my son went on to win state, regionals, and national silver gloves. Very disappointed with golden gloves this year.

  3. bikermike 04:58pm, 02/12/2016

    I’ve seen some .....straange decisions from the pro ranks ...from Texas.
    Homer decisions….too often.

  4. Buster 08:57pm, 02/07/2016

    Disgraceful. Worse than incompetent—criminal. A parent would have to be completely irresponsible to let their child compete in the Dallas Golden Gloves.

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