Houston Golden Gloves

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

Chuck Mince

Chuck Mince

Chuck “I Come to Fight” Mince, was born in New Orleans and can trace his boxing expertise lineage back to the famed New Orleans trainer Whitey Esneault, who trained Chuck’s uncle Jerome Conforto. Jerome, managed by his brother Al Conforto, and trained by Whitey, was an accomplished amateur and professional, once even fighting for the World Welterweight title that was vacated by Barney Ross. Jerome would also start what became the Conforto/Mince/Collinsworth fighting family boxing tradition when he taught Chuck ” I Come to Fight” Mince boxing and trained him throughout his career.

Chuck Mince was very successful in both amateur and professional ranks with the guidance and tutelage of his uncle Jerome. He was the Welterweight Louisiana State Golden Gloves, Open Division Champion four times and also participated in many amateur bouts in Texas, after finding bouts hard to come by in Louisiana. This would begin a lifelong connection to boxing in Texas with other notable accomplishments being beating Kenny Weldon in an Open Division amateur bout, splitting a pair of professional bouts with Melvin Dennis, defeating Charlie Smalls, and also defeating Willie Warren twice.

Chuck’s professional career lasted from 1968 until his final bout in April of 1979. Chuck’s final bout was held at the New Orleans Superdome, on the undercard of the WBA Light Heavyweight Championship bout Galindez vs Rossman. After retiring from competition Chuck began training fighters, including several younger generations of the fighting Conforto/ Mince/Collinsworth family, including his sons Chuck “Bad Boy” Mince, (10-0) as a professional, and “Marvelous” James Mince, (8-1) as a professional. “Marvelous” James was also a finalist on Oscar Delahoya’s ” Next Great Champ” reality television show.

“I Come to Fight” Mince continues to be connected to Texas as his nephew Derek Collinsworth is currently a trainer in Houston, Texas. One of Derek’s proteges, Quintin Randall, is currently the number 1 ranked boxer in the nation at 152 pounds, and fights on the U.S.A. Boxing Team internationally. Mince was also mentioned as the toughest professional opponent of Houston boxing legend, Melvin Dennis, who stated, “He wasn’t lying about his fight name, he really did “Come to Fight”!

Kenny Weldon

Pan-Am Games

Kenny Weldon started boxing as an amateur in Houston in 1953. A native of Galena Park, Texas, Kenny had more than 200 amateur bouts before turning pro in 1968. As a pro, Kenny went 50-7-1 claiming the Texas Featherweight Title and N.A.B.F. Super Featherweight title before retiring as a fighter in 1978.
Kenny’s greatest accomplishments, however, came as a coach. The program he established at The Galena Park Boxing Academy produced more than two dozen national amateur champions, and three Olympians. Kenny also served as a coach for The U.S. Olympic Team in 1988.
As a professional coach, Kenny cornered 18 world title fights with Hall of Famers such as Evander Holyfield, Vinny Pazienza, Orlando Canizales, Mike McCallum, Raul Marquez and Pernell Whitaker, as well as local legends like Wilford Scypion, Termite Watkins, Mike Phelps, James Pipps, Joel Perez, Stephen Martinez and Lewis Wood.
Always a fierce advocate for teaching proper fundamentals, Kenny also authored one of the top selling boxing intructional videos of all time.
Kenny retired from boxing for health reasons in 2013, but his impact can still be felt in the Houston boxing scene with a host of his former fighters and students now operating gyms of their own.,