Chicago Golden Gloves History
100 Years Strong
In 1923, 424 young men from Chicago's working class neighborhoods fought for respect and glory in "a great boxing carnival."
A century later, everything, and nothing, has changed.
Today, the Chicago Golden Gloves continues to be one of the great traditions of sport. The largest and longest running non-national boxing tournament in America, in 2023, the Chicago Golden Gloves is the original and only tournament celebrating 100 years.
It was arch
Born in 1896, Arch Ward, the Chicago Tribune's Sports Editor, was the architect and managing director of the tournament until his sudden death in 1955. Sponsored and hosted by the Chicago Tribune, the event was meant to sell papers. Ward chose Chicago's "brand new," world class venues including Soldier Field (built in 1924) and the Chicago Stadium (built in 1929) to host tens of thousands of fans for the finals of the City-wide tournament, the iconic Chicago vs New York City annual event, and international Golden Gloves competitions.
A promoter at heart, Arch built the tournament into a worldwide brand. Today, the title "Chicago Golden Gloves Champion" remains the most revered and respected title in amateur boxing other than "Olympian." Whether you won in the 1950's or after the turn of the millennium, the title continues to bring pride and admiration to those few who've earned it.
In addition to the Chicago Golden Gloves and the Inter-City Championships (Chicago v.s. NYC), Ward created Major League Baseball's All Star Game and appeared as himself in the 1950 film, "The Golden Gloves Story," a major motion picture about a love triangle between two Chicago Golden Gloves contenders and the daughter of their referee.
Inter-City Championship Icons
Just a few of the icons who won Chicago's Inter-City title and went on to face the New York City team include:
- Joe Louis, 1934
- Ezzard Charles, 1939
- Charles "Sonny" Liston, 1953
- Ernie Terrell, 1957
- Cassius Clay, 1959 & 1960
- Emmanuel Stewart, 1963
WGN's first live tv broadcast (and Radio)
As far back as 1930 and for decades to follow, W.G.N. Radio provided fans with live broadcasts of the tournament. On March 6, 1948, WGN-TV signed on the air for its first live broadcast. That night, those lucky enough to own a television, watched Jack Brickhouse call the action live from the Chicago Golden Gloves finals at the sold-out Stadium.
Tribune Drops Nationals but Continues Chicago Support
In 1963, in response to a new AAU rule requiring "helmets," the Tribune announced it would continue to host the Chicago city tournament, but it would no longer host its national event. The next year, Stan Gallup of Albuquerque, formed a new organization, Golden Gloves of America. In 1964, they began hosting their own national tournament which is still contested annually in different cities across the country.
Chicago Open division champions who went on to represent Team US in the Olympics include:
- Leroy Murphy, 1980
- Kelcie Banks, 1988
- Danell Nicholson, 1992
- Nate Jones, 1996
- David Diaz, 1996
- Michael Bennett, 2000
First Women's Division
In 1994, the Chicago Golden Gloves became the first tournament in America to host a Women’s Division.
For more on the rich history of the Chicago Golden Gloves, scroll down for archival images and select news stories. Endless additional clippings can be found at Newspapers.com. (We don't have the rights to publish any Sun-Times archives.)