For all its brutality, boxing is saving lives says Iowa Golden Gloves chairman Donald Avant. Youth from across the state come to Des Moines for the annual amateur boxing competition and have been doing so for 75 years. The Iowa Golden Gloves is designed to showcase sportsmanship and provide young athletes with a forum to display their talent in the boxing ring.
Old newspapers are filled with headlines relating to the Golden Gloves tournament in Iowa. Donald Avant remembers those days fondly. Front-page coverage may be gone, says Avant, but the tournament continues to be a success. Avant points to record participation and attendance as evidence that his beloved sports isn’t dying. He believes strongly in the message of commitment, pride and emotional development. It’s the company line that he repeats like a used car salesman, which just happens to be exactly what Avant does for a day job.
“The sport gives kids hope, structure, something to do other than run around causing trouble. A lot of the kids that train with our volunteer coaches don’t have fathers. If we can help fill just a small void then I consider my effort a success.”