An evening of amateur boxing – Glen Burnie style!

So there I was, somehow on my way to Michael’s 8th Avenue (7220 Grayburn Drive, Glen Burnie) with a press seat ringside waiting along with some legitimate press people covering the event, it’s straight up Golden Gloves amateur boxing, old school to the core. How old school, you ask? Let’s just say we asked the organizers if they had a website, and they didn’t really know what we were talking about.

Equally old school is Michael’s itself, having the air of your classic ballroom-with-VFW stylings. What with its drop ceilings, gold painted everything, plastic flowers, the whole nine yards – it would remind you of a place your grandparents would go to dance if there weren’t tables with folding chairs filling the rather large space and a boxing ring in the middle, illuminated with a blue glow that eventually gives way to the hot hot heat of white incandescents as the action begins. Prior to the bouts boxers psych themselves up and wait in the bridal suites (bwahaha), adorned with ornamental steam chests, faded peach wallpapering and even more plastic flowers – it ain’t quite Trump, but then again it is amateur boxing so these guys are more than ecstatic just to have a crowd of people watching them in action.

Speaking of crowds, the event filled the seats like gangbusters. With a slew of local sponsors (including Federal Hill’s Mad River, which filled a large section near the ring) and an appeal to the young and old, there didn’t seem to be hardly any empty seats – amateur boxing is alive and well in Glen Burnie. The statesman of the crowd, older working class gents sipping Bud Heavies and ogling the ring girls from Ritz Cabaret (natch), sat ringside and seemed to take the greatest interest in the up and coming sluggers. Within a few minutes, everyone was seated and the punching started.

In total the event featured 11 bouts each consisting of 3 rounds, 2 minutes a piece, with the exception of an exhibition round during which two old guys wildly punched each other in their old faces and made each other bleed a lot (it was hilarious). While every match was technically amateur, there were a few matches that ended prematurely due to a contender being outclassed, which essentially means one guy got his red ass handed to him by his opponent. …and those were the interesting matches. The majority of the other matches consisted of 140 lb teenagers awkwardly flailing at each other, which I suppose if you’re the boxer’s relative or friends you might be interested in seeing, but for the casual observer and/or the uninitiated (me), it was somewhat unentertaining. …to whit, these are my actual notes from sitting through the first four or so bouts, you can enlarge them by clicking:

After the first five or six bouts, the fights got a lot more interesting, with competitors showing a bit more skill and harder hits as the weight classes increased. All the way up until the 11th bout, the 2nd half of the evening was a great show of Men Punching Men in the Head. At one point, however, came the most curious point of the evening, during which the entire audience paid an intermission tribute to the veterans of Walter Reed by giving them a standing ovation while Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The USA” played. This in and of itself was actually really touching – the standing O was well over 5 minutes long – but what really brought it to the depths of the surreal occurred when a veteran whose legs were lost during conflict was paraded airborne around the ring while the song was playing and the entire audience chanted “USA! USA! USA! USA!” …at least, I thought it was off on a level or two.

By the time the lot of us were ready to trot, we had witnessed a 210+ lb boxer with the highest level of chisel literally destroy the face of a woefully unprepared opponent, much to the dismay of the crowd, simply because he was from Salisbury (and maybe because the white guy lost). And by that time a solid evening of boxing was had, one that I’d highly recommend to someone with a $20 to spare and the desire to mingle with Baltimore’s roots. The fights return to Michael’s on June 18th, if I knew how to get tickets I’d say so, but I’d venture you can probably call the number on the flyer and find out. You can view the rest of the photos from that evening below.

…ps. Stopped by a restaurant for some late night grub after the bouts, and saw this little gem on a menu – the “Jewtown Burger.” Classy.

2 thoughts on “An evening of amateur boxing – Glen Burnie style!

  1. Morrissey played there in the 90’s and fired his tour manager after the show. He came out, looked around at the chandeliers, and said “Welcome to the Bar Mitzvah”.

    What restaurant had that burger?

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