Since moving from Troup to Tyler three years ago, the East Texas Golden Gloves has grown exponentially.
In fact, the longtime boxing tournament’s annual crowds have increased an estimated 100 percent.
“We left Troup and moved to the Lone Star Event Center and packed it,” ETGG president Ken Jones said. “That’s when we decided to move it out to UT Tyler. This is a big venue.”
Tonight, the event returns for its 73rd installment at UT Tyler’s Herrington Patriot Center (second year there) — and Jones hopes to fill up the Rose City’s largest gymnasium.
“I’m going to tell everyone tomorrow that we need some help because we want to pack it Friday and Saturday night,” Jones said. “It’s a lot bigger event. This year we are going to bring the open division out to music and stuff. We are going to try and tweak it and make it better each year.”
Scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the action begins at 7 p.m. each day with gates opening at 6 p.m. and ticket offices opening at 4 p.m. Finals will be set for each night, with fighters in nine or 10 open divisions expected to advance to state.
“We’ve got about 78 bouts for the three days, which is better than 25 a night,” Jones said. “Everything’s looking really good. We’ve got a lot of people calling and wanting tickets. We’ve got a good open division going to state. We’ve just got to see which ones are going to come through and win the tournament.”
In addition to the open divisions, there will be an all-comers division in which novice fighters will be stepping into the ring for the first time.
“That’s that one who brings all their friends to come and watch,” Jones said. “You have a kid in the open division and no one at school even knows he’s boxing. (All-comers) are lots of fun.”
Last year’s state berths went to Jeremy Butler, Jerrion Campbell, Justin Krantz, Abraham Ligon, Oscar Morales, Jose Perales, Shamarian Snider and Kenneth Taylor.
The 2013 Texas State Golden Gloves is set for Feb. 27-March 3 in Fort Worth. It will be the 77th installment of the tournament.
What: East Texas Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Where: UT Tyler’s Herrington Patriot Center.
Noteworthy: The event returns for its 73rd year and organizers are planning for the biggest tournament yet. Nine to 10 fighters will be vying for state berths.