Sports News

Rookie star Marco Romero is wasting no time, turning pro a month after winning the National Golden Gloves

Marco Romero throws a punch in one of his amateur bouts. Photo by Sergio Segura

There was little time for Marco Romero to celebrate after checking off the last item on his veteran bucket list. Two days after winning the 2024 National Golden Gloves title at 165 kilograms on May 18, Romero was back in training for his first job.

It’s no small feat to return to the gym after a grueling tournament that saw the 18-year-old fight five times in six days, where he missed his high school graduation and had to be awarded a diploma at a special ceremony afterward. . But with his producer debut scheduled for Saturday, June 15 at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine, there was no time.

Romero will face MMA-turned-boxer Jonathan Gary (2-1) in a four-round super middleweight title fight. It’s a low-key debut for the decorated national champion, but Romero says his father, Salvador Romero, helped him put everything in perspective.

“We are back home and as my father says, you have to put everything behind you. From where I did I got to academics, now I’m starting to do well,” said Romero, who is originally from Olathe, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City with a population of about 140,000.

“I want to be successful in the way I was successful in the amateurs in the professionals. So we are ready to work quickly. “

Romero’s final fight for the National Golden Gloves against New York’s Melvin Martinez

For Romero, it’s probably easier to list the rookie championships he didn’t win than the ones he did win. In a sport that began at the age of seven, Romero won the Junior Olympics three times, the National Silver Gloves six times, the USA National Qualifiers five times and the USA National Championships four times, the last of which was his first at the senior level.

He has nearly 135 fights, losing just five times, with his last loss coming via split decision in the 2019 National Junior Olympics finals. A young man of his caliber used to be on the USA Boxing national team, traveling the world and working for a spot in the Olympics, but circumstances beyond his control kept him from international competition.

Romero made the US national team in March of 2020 and was scheduled to travel to Bulgaria for the Emil Jechev Tournament, only to see the tournament canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the weight he competed in, 165 kilograms, was removed from the Olympic competition. At 5’10”, Romero found himself too big for the 156-pound division and too small for the 176-pounders.

In addition, the minimum age for Olympic boxers was raised from 18 to 19, meaning Romero was not meant to compete in Paris.

“My first dream was to go to the Olympics and bring back a gold medal, but unfortunately 165 was not the qualifying weight. After finding out that the dream was just to become a pro. I’ve always said my biggest dream was to bring the world championship back to Kansas. Kansas is not really a boxing state so my thing is to bring the world championship back to Kansas and inspire all the other kids in Kansas to pursue boxing and put boxing on the map. So that one day Kansas will be viewed as one of the states of boxing,” said Romero, a Mexican American whose father is from the Mexican state of Michoacán, and whose mother, Sandy, is from Guanajuato.

Boxing was not Romero’s first hobby, however. At the age of six, he started playing football in recreational leagues, while his brother, two years younger, begged his father to bring him to the boxing gym. Soon after the two roles switch, the brother is now playing football in high school.

For the past eight years, Romero has trained under John Brown, a veteran of nearly 60 years in boxing who is also his manager. Brown also trained former heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison during the peak of his career from 1988 to 1993, and guided Cam F. Awesome to international success. Finding sparring is difficult, given that Kansas is not a boxing hotbed, and few boxers are willing to incur the expense of traveling to him for sparring.

Romero with his National Golden Gloves belt and Golden Boy award as a fighter for this tournament. Photo by Sandy Romero

Romero got a high-level workout before the National Golden Gloves when he joined Eric Priest, a Golden Boy Promotions middleweight prospect from his gym in Kansas, at his training camp in Los Angeles. Romero admits he will have to travel a lot to find more charity work.

Priest (13-0, 8 knockouts) says he has known Romero since Romero was nine years old, and says what makes him a special fighter is his work ethic and his focused, humble mind.

“He comes from a big family, with good morals and principles. I can vouch for him as a person as well as a boxer. “He really is the combination of a good boxer,” said Priest.

“Marco is quick, moves well on his head and is very mature in his ring moves. Strong combos. Marco strives to win, he understands that this is a hurtful business.”

Romero likens his style to that of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, though he also cites fellow Kansas natives turned boxing stars Victor Ortiz and Brandon Rios as rising role models.

“I can describe myself as a pressure fighter who comes forward but wisely. “I like to push people back, push forward, shoot the body, hit hard but I’m also sharp with moving my head and moving my foot,” said Romero.

Romero already has his second fight scheduled for July 26 in Atlantic City, and he says the plan is to drop down to 154 pounds. He believes that he can build his record to 5-0 before the end of the year, and test the markets of big boxing.

“All this has become surreal for me. I hope that next year I will sign with a good team like Top Rank, Golden Boy, Matchroom, something like that,” said Romero.


Saturday’s card is promoted by Art Pelullo’s Banner Promotions and Bobby Russo, owner of the Portland Boxing Club and national president of the Golden Gloves of America. The card will be headlined by bantamweight contender Dylan Price (18-0, 12 KOs) in a ten-round fight against Ernesto Irias (15-9-1, 9 KOs), and light heavyweight Kendrick Ball Jr. (22-1- 3, 13 KOs) against Britton Norwood (13-5-1, 10 KOs) in a ten round fight, and the professional debut of local favorite and last year’s New England Golden Gloves champion Wade Faria in a round fight four middleweight.

The event will be the first boxing match at the Cross Insurance Arena since 1994, when Joey Gamache defended his WBA lightweight title against Orzubek Nazarov back when the venue was known as the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Tickets range from $35 to $153, with the event starting at 6:30 pm

Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button