When Tom Moraetes saw that bidding had opened for the site of this year's Georgia State Golden Gloves Championships, he immediately entered Augusta as a candidate.
On Dec. 21, the Georgia Amateur Boxing Board of Directors accepted the Augusta Boxing Club's bid, making Augusta just the second site for the event in its history. Atlanta had been home to the heralded championships for more than 30 years.
"It was difficult, but it's very rewarding that they decided to give it to us," said Moraetes, director of Augusta Boxing Club. "Historically, Augusta has shown that we can put on national events, events of this stature. Any time you're able to get something from Atlanta, you have to be pleased."
Weigh-ins will take place March 1, and action will start at Warren Road Community Center on at 7 p.m. March 2-3. Tickets for the event will be $5 for adults, $2 for children and $12 for ringside seats.
The Augusta Boxing Club will place more than 20 boxers in the three levels of competition. There will be an Olympic Level Open competition for men and women ages 17-34; novice division for men and women ages 17-34; and Junior Olympic Level for boys and girls ages 8-16.
Winners in the men's Olympic Level Open will advance to the Southern Golden Gloves on March 22-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., with a chance to advance to the nationals in Reno, Nevada, on May 1-5.
"We are very proud to be associated with this event," said Tom Beck, director of the Augusta Recreation and Parks Department. "I'm sure Augusta will support this. That's what sets this city apart - we do the little things. We understand that this is for the kids, the athletes that train their hearts out."
Future sites for the Georgia State Golden Gloves Championships have not been set, but Moraetes said he feels Augusta could have a chance to hold on to the slot. Its closest competitor this year was Kingsland, Ga., a community also known for its boxing endeavors.
"We're going to put on a first-class tournament, but that won't mean we'll get the bid next year," Moraetes added. "Kingsland went pretty hard for it. They had a lot of people working at it. We would love to have it here yearly, and if we have success this year, there's likely a good chance for us in the future."
Also, the Augusta Boxing Club also announced it will play host to this year's National Women's Golden Gloves Championships in August and the National Police Athletic League Championships in 2002.