BUFFALO, NY – Three Chenango County local fighters took to the ring at Buffalo Riverworks Complex this past Saturday, on April 15, with two bringing home the ultimate crown – a Buffalo New York Golden Gloves championship.
Oxford’s own Jon Heggie, a mere 17-year-old senior, has rocked the boxing world since stepping into the ring for his first fight – now it April of 2017, Heggie has amassed a 13-0 record with a a 152 Novice Golden Gloves championship.
“It was an awesome experience,” said Jon of his Golden Gloves 2-0 run. “A lot of fun, but took a lot of very hard work. It was both mentally and physically exhausting.”
Heggie grabbed his first Golden Gloves win on January 29, 2017 – with a 5-0 decision win over Ezzeldin Asbtani, a fighter out of Buffalo.
With a second fight cancelled due to a fighter backing out of weigh-ins, Jon advanced to find fellow Chenango County fighter Greg Webb in the finals.
Webb, 29-years-old, and a 2006 Norwich High School graduate, has been competitively boxing since 2015.
“I could never gain weight for any of the other sports I played, so boxing provided an opportunity to use my tall and slim frame to my advantage. I like the competitive element to boxing and how it keeps you in really good shape,” said Webb. “On a typical day, I’ll cycle through a conditioning regimen in the morning which includes a lot of body weight stuff like pull-ups and push-ups and running. In the evening, (I) will do all the boxing stuff, like shadow boxing, heavy bags, and sparing.”
Heggie who trains out of Rays Kidz gym in Syracuse found Webb, of Roc Boxing in Rochester in the finals. Two Chenango County natives squaring off in the finals of the Golden Gloves – what could be better.
Notably, Webb previously had taken home a second place finish in the 2016 Golden Gloves – and was coming off a solid showing in the first round of the 2017 tournament when he defeated Aaron Benson of Tonawanda New York with a 5-0 decision.
With tensions mounting for the two fighters, it was in fact Heggie who earned the win, handing Webb another second place finish. Webb now holds a competitive boxing record of 4-6 overall.
“I fought Webb in the finals, I won by decision,” said Jon. “The referee gave him two standing eight counts. One in the first round, and one in the third round.”
This second loss in the finals has fueled Webb to continue to push for that ever elusive championship win.
“I was obviously disappointed with the loss especially after finishing runner-up in last years finals as well, but Heggie is a very good, young fighter and deserved the win. I think we were pretty evenly matched, so I look forward to the chance of sparing or fighting him again,” said Webb. “I took a few days off and treated myself to a massage. But I’ll be back to training tomorrow.”
Heggie, now at 13-0, having never lost a competitive match, looks to take some time away from the sport as the Oxford senior is winding down his high school days and can see college approaching fast.
“Yeah maybe (take) a little time off. I’ve decided on (SUNY) Cortland for Exercise Science,” said Jon of where he will be attending college come fall of 2017. “Focus on studies, and boxing. I might also try and play some intramural sports.”
Jon’s coach and subsequently his father, Peter Heggie, offered up some tantalizing takes on Jon’s finals matchup with Webb, and with regard to Jon’s future in the sport of boxing, should he continue to pursue it throughout college.
“Webb was a tall, lanky fighter with a decent jab and some pop on his punch. He also has a very good chin as he took all of Jon’s punches, he did receive two eight counts during the bout. The first one appeared warranted, although the second one appeared premature. Webb was very competitive,” said Peter Heggie. “Next on Jon’s agenda is anybody guess. Jon was talking about taking a break although many wish he will not, as his future is bright. Jon draws the attention of many coaches and trainers. They have a lot of praise and speak very highly of him and his skill, aggression. They continue to tell him he has a bright future in the sport if he so chooses.”
At the 165 Sub-Novice slot, Chenango County native and 29-year-old Austin Paula took home a championship win, defeating his Douglas Kuzande of Rochester, in the finals on April 15.
“Alex Paula fought a very good fight. He stayed busy the whole fight and landed several thundering shots in route to his victory. Paula packs a big boy punch that’s for sure,” said Peter Heggie of Paula’s championship win.
Paula – Webb’s 2006 classmate at Norwich High School – and now a fighter out of ROC Boxing in Rochester, has said that he took up competitively boxing around a year ago and currently trains with Tim Kelly.
“I’ve been boxing about a year. Although (I) did a little training in my early teens with my dad but nothing worthy of getting in the ring. My dad, Eddie Paula boxed and I’ve always been drawn to it. His love for boxing and him fighting drew me towards it,” said Paula. “I’ve always wanted to follow his passion and love for the sport, to have the common bond that we both fought in the golden Gloves. He’s a hero of mine so I’ve always wanted to do it for him. Once I started boxing I loved the discipline it teaches you along with the physical nature of the sport. (Boxing) allows me to stay in something competitive now that I’m not playing sports in school.”
Paula advanced to the big stage after he snagged a first round 5-0 decision win over Leonard A Gonzalez-Fuentes of Gowanda, New York on January, 29. Now, come April of 2017, Paula walks away with his championship win and a competitive fighting record of 3-1.
“The day was long because I had to lose some weight to make the cut. I was 165.8 pounds and needed to be 165.0 pounds or under. I was able to lose the weight and get under. After that it was getting some food in my stomach to make sure I had some energy,” said Paula of his experience at the championship round of the Buffalo Golden Gloves. “I believe I stole the first round in the last 10-15 seconds with a flurry of combinations. In the second round I believe my opponent began to get a bit tired and we battled. He landed some hard shots, but overall I was able to land more punches and threw more. In round three, both of us getting tired and as the round went on I visibly saw him stagger after I landed a few body and head shots. I was unable to TKO him, but prevailed and won the fight by majority decision.”
With the decision win in the finals over Kuzande, Paula has offered up some words of praise for all who have supported him thus far on his boxing journey.
“I’m taking a full week off of any training. As far as going forward, we will see what the future holds. I’m getting up there in age so I’m unsure of what I want to do. I will continue to train and spar for the time being, but unsure how long it will last when it comes to competitive fighting,” said Paula. “I couldn’t do this without the support of my family, Darlene (Mother), Eddie (Father), Austin and Antonio (Brothers), and my girlfriend Becca Youmell. She (Becca) does a lot as far a support, she makes sure I’m getting enough to eat and makes sure I stay focused. As well as friends, their support is huge and uplifting to know they are their cheering me on.”
Full results will be posted online at www.buffalogoldengloves.com – the first round results are currently posted.
For anyone wishing to watch this year’s Golden Glove boxing matches, The Buffalo Golden Gloves Official Videographer, Robert Lewis has said he will be posting them on his Youtube channel at Rugged Chronicles.
“It was a great night of fights, very competitive,” said Lewis. “Your guys (Chenango County) did extremely well, they were very competitive and I think you can see that from the results on how they did.”