Clutch City Boxing would like to sincerely apologize for failing to list Austin Williams of The Main Street Boxing Gym, as 2018 Houston Golden Gloves, Open Division, 165 pound Champion. Austin was kind enough to point out our mistake and though he had every right to be upset, was very courteous while doing so. It was an oversight on our part in our rush to give recognition to our outstanding Houston and Houston area boxers. I have never met this young man but have heard great things about him and the way he handled this situation lets me know that all the great things I’ve heard about him are true. Thank you Austin for representing Houston boxing and God Bless You.
Roy Harris , Cut and Shoot, Texas
Amateur Career: fought at middleweight and light heavyweight. 6-time regional golden glove champion. 4-time state golden glove champion, 1952-55. won the Joe Louis sportsmanship award at the 1955 nationals tournament.
Professional career: 30 wins, 5 loses and 1 no contest.
Roy has continued his ambition and success after retiring from boxing at 28 years of age, serving as a Montgomery County Clerk for 28 years, becoming a practicing attorney in 1972, and drawing up the paperwork to incorporate Cut and Shoot as its own municipality.
Father Henry Harris Sr., a bare-knuckle boxing champion and Southern Heavyweight Prizefighting Champion, taught his sons boxing and wrestling from an early age. Henry Sr. also taught many area youths, believed in teaching the kids self-confidence along with boxing, and encouraged them all to do their best in whatever they did in life. Tobe, Roy and Henry Jr. all excelled in boxing and would achieve great success in competition on the regional, state, national, and world levels. Henry Sr. also trained and cornered Campbell “Wildman” Woodman and he and Henry Jr. trained U.S. Olympian Chuck Walker as well.
The brothers would initially train and spar with each other, then participate in local, many times Houston, amateur bouts. Boxing was also taught in schools in the area of Cut and Shoot and Conroe during the 40’s and 50’s and local tournaments were plentiful. This no doubt had a positive effect on their boxing education as well. During a conversation this author had with Henry Harris Jr., he said, “Well we fought so much during that time, that we really starting getting good”. The boys became successful and began winning Houston Golden Glove and Texas State Golden Glove Boxing Championships in earnest. The Harris brothers would travel anywhere to compete but spent a great deal of time competing in Houston as amateurs and as professionals. Henry Jr. stated that many Houston area coaches and boxers were also generous in teaching he and his brothers’ things that they were able to use in their careers as boxers and trainers. Among the names mentioned were Benny King, who also served as a cut man and Manager to Roy, who Henry spoke very highly of during our conversation.
Roy worked as a 4th grade school teacher and oil field worker during his professional career and also served two years with The United States Army. Roy, a well-schooled boxer with excellent footwork and an educated jab turned professional in April of 1955, at The Sam Houston Colosseum, winning by TKO in 3 rounds over Tommie Smith. Seven months later Roy won The Texas State Heavyweight Championship beating Reagan “Buddy” Turman by a 12-round decision. Roy continued his success, ultimately challenging Floyd Patterson in 1958 for The World Heavyweight Championship, losing in the 13th round when his father Henry Harris Sr. told head trainer Bill Gore to stop the bout.Roy was able to score a knockdown on Patterson during the bout and remained competitive throughout the bout until the later rounds. Roy was not at his best that night due to several reasons, one being his not being able to train and spar as he was accustomed to, due to having to spend time away from home due to his service with The United States Army. With that being said, Roy still offered no excuses after losing to Patterson, simply stating, ” I tried my best”. This type of sportsmanship defined Roy’s career and life and he is said to be very proud of his ability to serve others in his positions as a school teacher, member of the armed services, boxing coach, Montgomery County Clerk, and practicing Attorney. Besides the before mentioned Buddy Turman and Floyd Patterson Roy fought many quality opponents in his professional career including Bob Baker, Willie Pastrano, Willie Besmanoff, Charly Norkus, Sonny Liston, and Henry Cooper. His bout with Pastrano in particular is known to be one of the finest displays of pure boxing by both contestants, ever seen in the heavyweight division.
Henry Harris Jr, also a 4-time Golden Glove Champion fought Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) in the National Golden Gloves Tournament in 1960. He’s trained and worked with many accomplished boxers including Chuck Walker, James “Bubba” Busceme, Mike Williams, and Sherman Griffin. Henry Jr. has been the main coach from the family that has kept the Cut and Shoot boxing legacy alive also training his son Trey Harris and nephews Monte and Robby Lane.
Trey Harris won The Houston Golden Gloves four years in a row and was State Golden Glove Champion in 1991.Trey also achieved a professional record of 14 wins and zero loses before retiring. Monty Lane and Robby Lane who also won multiple Houston Golden Glove Championships.
Alfonso Lopez III, another Henry Harris Jr. protege, is not a relative of The Harris Family but he proudly continues the Harris and Cut and Shoot boxing tradition. He is a multiple times Houston and Texas State Golden Glove Champion and is an active professional boxer with a record of 27 wins and 3 loses, winning The Texas State Super Middleweight Championship as well as the WBC Continental Americas Super Middleweight Title. Lopez also serves as a boxing and fitness coach at his El Tigre Boxing Academy, as well as a boxing promoter with El Tigre Boxing Promotions.
The Houston Golden Gloves Tournament has historically been known as one of the toughest amateur boxing tournaments in the nation. More than once Houston boxers have said that getting out of our own hometown Golden Gloves can be harder than winning the state and national Golden Gloves tournaments. Many of our regional Champions have gone on to very successful professional careers including Roy Harris, Dave Zyglewics, Manuel Ramos, James “Bubba” Busceme, Johnny Boudreux, Mark Tessman, Kenny Weldon, Maurice “Termite” Watkins, Wilford Scypion, Ronnie Shields, Thomas Tate, Raul Marquez, Rocky Juarez, Juan Diaz, Benjamin Flores, Miguel Flores, Lee Canalito, Ron Collins, Melvin Dennis, Louis Wood, Alfonso Lopez, Reggie Johnson, Warren Williams, Derwin Richards, The Charlo Brothers, Omar Henry, Ricky Stoner, Joe Garcia, Eric Griffin, Hylon Williams, Adrian Lopez, Guadalupe Martinez, David Donis, and many more.
Many Houston Golden Gloves Champions and competitors that never went professional or had short professional careers are legends in their own right, some considered to be better skilled than some of the professional champions we’ve had. Some names mentioned from the recent past include, Daniel Ybarra, Victor Rodriguez, Darlington Agha, The Manriquez Brothers, Eleazar Renteria, Gerardo Ibarra, Billy “Third Ward” Willis, Joshua Garza, and Fred Allen. When speaking to some of the legends of Houston boxing, some names they have mentioned include, Gilbert Garcia, Henry Harris Jr, Frank Garza, Jesse Valdez, Joe Louis Valdez, Barry Yeats, David Martinez, Raymond Boyd, Oscar Trevino, Ricky Webb, Anthony Wiley, Greg Brennan, Jaime Lopez and many more. Frank Garza, Oscar Trevino, and David Martinez, were names I’ve heard mentioned most when asking about the amateur legends, with Jesse Valdez unanimously named as best boxer who ever competed in the Houston Golden Gloves Championships.
We’ve also had countless state and national champions from our region as well as several Olympic Champions and competitors. Kenny Weldon alone produced 51 state champions and 26 national champs, along with 3 pan-am medalists and three Olympians. Gulf LBC boxers have always held many spots in the USA boxing, national rankings historically and presently our boxers dominate the national rankings. Just to name a few currently nationally ranked, Houston boxers: Gilbert Renteria, Alex Donis, Rafael “Tiger” Medina, Jemiah Richards, Quinton Randall, Austin Williams, Virgina Fuchs and Carmen Vargas. Recently turned professional Marlen Esparza also is a former Houston Golden Glove boxer.
It is a statement on the strength and depth of our boxing pedigree in Houston, Texas that of the many names mentioned, there are still many not mentioned due to the enormous amount of quality boxers we’ve produced. Feel free to comment with additional names who may not have been mentioned here, that were known as tough competitors in the Houston Golden Gloves.
2018 Houston Golden Gloves, Open Division Champions:
Female 125 pounds out of Baby Bull Gym— Carmen Vargas
Male 108 pounds, out of Wings like Eagles — Ephraim Bui
Male 114 pounds, out of Woods Boxing— John Atiles
Male 123 pounds, out of Wings like Eagles— Martell Washpun
Male 132 pounds, out of Perez Boxing— Oscar Perez
Male 141 pounds, out of Marquez Boxing —Rodolfo Pena
Male 152 pounds, out of Donis Boxing— Alex Donis
Male 165 pounds, out of Main Street Boxing—Austin Williams
Male 178 pounds, out of Savannah Boxing— Kenneth Carter
Male 201 pounds, out of O’Athletic— Darius Fulgham
Male 201+ pounds, out of Main Street Gym— Albert Okopie
Born in 1958, raised in Port Arthur, Texas and boxing out of The Galena Park Boxing Academy, Scypion had a very successful amateur career, finishing with a record of 206 wins and 11 loses. He was the regional, state, and national Golden Gloves Champion at middleweight in 1978, and turned professional that same year. Scypion began his professional career with a string of 14 knockouts in 14 fights but never got over the fact that his 13th knockout victim, Willie “Macho” Classen died from injuries suffered during their bout in November of 1979. Classen’s death changed Scypion from an aggressive boxer-puncher into a sometimes hesitant and erratic fighter who would still go on to be successful but was never the same.
Scypion would still go on to capture the U.S.B.A. and I.B.F. Middleweight titles in 1983 by beating Frank “The Animal” Fletcher by a twelve-round decision. He would then go on to fight Marvelous Marvin Hagler three months later, losing the bout and his titles by fourth round knockout. Other notable opponents he faced were Mustafa Hamsho, Curtis Parker, James Green, Murray Sutherland, and Iran Barkley. He retired in 1991 and finished his career with a record of 32 wins, 24 by knockout, against 9 loses. Recognized in the Musuem of the Gulf Coast Sports Hall of Fame, Scypion will always be remembered for his successful and exciting career.
Al “Potato Pie” Boulden, was a former boxer and outstanding boxing trainer based out of Houston, Texas. Potato Pie was from a small country town near Spring, Texas. He trained and/or cornered many outstanding boxers including:
Maurice “Termite” Watkins, Iran Barkley, Lou Saverese, Dwaynea Muhammad, Frank Tate, Vince Bouleware, Everett “Big Foot” Martin, Othal “Choo Choo” Dixon, Tony Tucker, Mike Williams, and Calvin Grove.
Al was one of the most sought after and knowledgeable coaches in our area and worked out of several gyms, including The Savannah Boxing Gym, Main Street Gym, The H.B.A. Gym, and The P.A.B.A. Boxing Gym. Al was also a mentor to Bob Spagnola, who has gone on to become very successful in many avenues of boxing including managing, advising, and promoting.
Inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008, Bill Gore will always be remembered as one of the best trainers in boxing history.
Born in Providence, Rhode,Island and initially learning and applying his trade in New York, Bill Gore was nevertheless, a tremendous influence on our local boxing scene.
Gore learned much of his boxing knowledge initially from Benny Leonard, who trained at Stillman’s Gym in New York City. He also earned first class experience training fighters alongside all-time trainer greats such as Ray Arcel, Whitey Bimstein, Charlie Goldman, Lou Stillman, Chickie Ferrara, Chris Dundee and Angelo Dundee.
In 1940 Gore began a boxing partnership with Lou Viscusi and began training fighters in Hartford, Connecticut as well. Lou Viscusi specialized in managing boxers, and Gore handled the physical conditioning and boxing training. Gore was also responsible for developing Willie Pep into one of the best pure boxers in boxing history as well as guiding him to a world championship. Other boxers Gore developed throughout his career includes, Tony Licata, Joey Archer, Bob Foster, Ezzard Charles, Del Flanagan, Mike McTigue, Melio Bettina, Johnny Cesario, Bobby Woods, Danny Nardico, Charlie Riley and Nick Stato
In the mid to late 1950’s Viscusi decided to move his main operations to Houston, Gore also moved to Houston and began training fighters here. Operating out of a downtown Houston gym, he began influencing some of the most talented boxers in the area including, Kenny Weldon, Manny Gonzalez, Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams, Joe “Old Bones” Brown, and Roy Harris.
Gore was given high praise by Manny Gonzalez who was quoted as saying, ” I used to be a wild puncher, a face first fighter, but Bill made me a boxer and this is what I needed”. Joe “Old Bones” Brown, an accomplished and highly skilled boxer before working with Gore gave Gore credit for teaching him how and when to “sit down” on his punches for maximum leverage” which added to his already phenomenal boxing skills, made Brown a dominating force in boxing. Kenny Weldon, who would later become one of the most successful boxing trainers in boxing history, credits Gore with helping him understand the fundamentals as well as the finer aspects of boxing, as well as how to “communicate” boxing to others.
Kenny Weldon, Roy Harris, and several other Gore proteges took what Gore taught them and developed many champions, who in turn developed and continue to develop even more champions. For this reason Mr. Gore’s name will forever be a part of everything that is boxing in Houston, Texas.
Raymond “Pink Panther” Boyd
Raymond Boyd had a storied and solid career in both the amateur and professional ranks. His professional career spanned from 1970 to 1982, and he finished with a record of 27 wins with 22 knockouts, and 9 losses. A former stablemate of Kenny Weldon and Manny Gonzalez, Mr. Boyd’s name is mentioned often by the local pioneers of professional boxing when the subject of tough competitors is brought up.
Born in New Orleans, Mr. Boyd spent his youth in Edna, Texas and would ultimately reside in and box out of Houston, Texas. Also known as “Sweet” Raymond Boyd, Mr. Boyd embodied the Houston and the Texas, “rumble ready” spirit. Though Mr. Boyd was an educated boxer, he kept a “street fighting” element to his approach that led to entertaining and memorable bouts. Former national amateur champion and Texas State Middleweight Champion, Melvin Dennis, described Mr. Boyd as his toughest amateur opponent, stating that every one of their three bouts were “dogfights”.
As if his tough approach to boxing and his entertaining bouts weren’t enough, Mr. Boyd also brought a “pro wrestling” entertainment aspect to boxing by wearing pink trunks, robes, and socks, as well as screaming a “war cry” of sorts as he was walking to and into the ring. Pink Panther also was known to “trash talk” before, during, and after bouts, as well as use moves such as the “head lock” during his bouts. There have also been reports of Pink Panther Boyd blowing kisses to attractive females in the crowd as well as professing his handsomeness to anyone who would listen. Maybe Mr. Boyd was influenced by the Houston Wrestling bouts that were popular at the time and held in the same Sam Houston Coliseum as Mr. Boyd fought many of his amateur and professional bouts. Raymond “Pink Panther” Boyd certainly left a lasting impression on his local peers and stories of his bouts as well as his antics, are Houston area boxing legend.