First Posted: 1/30/2012
ROCKINGHAM — Three boxers from North Carolina will move on to represent the Southeast Coast region in this week’s Silver Gloves national tournament and two of them are from Rockingham.
Jamell Brown and Brittany Winburn earned the opportunity to move on to Independence, Mo. after winning the regional tournament in their weight division earlier this month in Wilmington. Israel Chavis, from Tabor City, is the other Tar Heel heading to the national competition.
Andre Thompson, the regional Silver Gloves director, says the trio are the key to help North Carolina return to the prominence. Thompson said the last three years have been tough for local boxing.
“We are in a rebuilding phase,” said Thompson, who is also the head of the state’s Junior Olympic program. “We have had to rebuild our program. This is the first time in three years we have had three people advance nationally.”
This also marks the first time a fighter from The Dungeon Boxing Club advanced to a national event.
“It makes me feel real good, especially for the kids,” said Mario Olivera, The Dungeon Boxing Club’s founder and coach. “They have teammates that look up to them.”
Olivera believes Brown, who is 5-0 in his career, has a chance to be successful at the event.
“I know he’s coming back with the belt,” Olivera said. “I also know I can help bring more titles back with the backing of the community.”
One of the things Olivera needs is financial assistance to get Brown and Winburn to the Silver Gloves competition. Earlier this month, Olivera had to raise funds to pay for hotel rooms in Wilmington and is back asking for the community to pitch in again.
“I really want to thank everyone who helped out,” Olivera said. “I have never asked for anything before and the community really came through. This is going to be the first time they have ever flown. This is something everyone should be able to experience.”
While Olivera is excited to have his pupils hit the national stage, he hopes the atmosphere will not overwhelm them.
“It’s going to be a big deal,” Olivera said. “They are going to have three rings set up at the arena. ESPN will be there and all kinds of people taking pictures.”
Olivera added the three boxers will be at The Dungeon Boxing Club this afternoon to thank the public for its support as well as accepting donations.
To donate or to meet the trio, contact Olivera at 910-417-5262.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at [email protected]