Back in the ring

Contest offers amateurs a chance to put on the gloves

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— When Gary Saunders got word Thursday that another Fight Night had been scheduled in Steamboat, the 59-year-old former Golden Gloves boxer didn't waste any time preparing.

"I'll be darned," Saunders said. "When I get off work today, I'm going to be over there (at Peak Fitness) training."

Saunders, nicknamed "Froggy," competed for three years in the Golden Gloves national amateur boxing tournaments that started in 1926.

The most famous Golden Gloves champion may have been Joe Louis, a professional boxer who held the world heavyweight title for 12 years during the 1930s and 1940s.

Saunders will be one of at least 28 boxers who will fight for a $100 purse at Romick Arena in Steamboat July 29.

He works at the meat department at City Market.

Next month, Saunders hopes to butcher his competition inside a 15-by-16 foot ring during Fight Night 2.

Those competing in Fight Night will be equipped with headgear and 16-ounce gloves, said Tara Nultemeier, local boxing promoter.

On hand, Nultemeier said, will be a fight doctor, two referees, a couple of girls to display round cards and two judges.

Saunders said he needs about a month to train to get in shape.

"Obviously, I'm not going to have the endurance of a 19-year-old," Saunders said. "I'll look for somebody to make a critical mistake."

Nultemeier, who owns Peak Fitness Center, said she hopes the event will draw another large turnout.

In November, about 600 people packed into the Steamboat Springs Middle School gymnasium for the first Fight Night.

Nultemeier said the same rules will apply as in amateur boxing. Many of those fighting at Romick Arena, she said, will have little boxing experience.

"There is no kicking and no punching below the belt," Nultemeier said. "They will just roundhouse each other like crazy."

Nultemeier is trying to set up six divisions, including two women's divisions.

Champions will be awarded $100, she said.

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