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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 amateur boxing tournament in America, in 2023, the Chicago Golden Gloves is the only amateur boxing tournament celebrating 100 years.

It was arch

Born in 1896, Arch Ward, the Chicago Tribune's Sports Editor, was the architect of the tournament until his sudden death in 1955. Hosted by the Chicago Tribune and managed by their Sports department, 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 (with respect to "NY Golden Gloves Champion") 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.

Arch also created the Major League Baseball All Star Game and appeared as himself in the 1950 film, "The Golden Gloves Story," a major motion picture about a love story between a contender and a referee's daughter.

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 team include:

  • Joe Louis, 1934
  • Charles "Sonny" Liston, 1953
  • Ernie Terrell, 1957
  • Cassius Clay, 1959 & 1960

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.

Olympians

Chicago Open division champions who went on to represent Team US in the Olympics include:

  • Leroy Murphy, 1980
  • 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.)

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Archival News

Born in Chicago in 1895, Earl "Gibby" Pruess was crowned the 160 pound champion of the 1923 tournament. Gibby went on to play professional baseball and football. (Photo courtesy Chicago Golden Gloves Charities)
Feb. 17, 1923 First mention of the Tribune's intent to host a "great amateur boxing contest..." via Chicago Tribune
Feb. 22, 1923 "The Chicago Tribune Athletic Association announces the greatest amateur boxing carnival ever held...", via Chicago Tribune
Feb. 26, 1923 "Red Blooded Citizens Back Boxing Plans," via Chicago Tribune
Feb. 28, 1923 "Tribune A.A. Picks Dates, Site," via Chicago Tribune
"120 Cook County Legion Posts Indorse Tribune AA Boxing;" and Boxer Entry Form in Chicago Daily Tribune
Tribune Publishes Citizens Comments Supporting or Against Tribune's Planned Boxing Event
"Delaney, Clinnen and Griffith Invited to Serve" as refs for the "mammoth amateur tournament," via Chicago Tribune
Notre Dame Enters; Knute Rockne Laudes Tribune, via Chicago Tribune
Col. Hammond of the 124th field artillery enters team via Chicago Tribune
Sixth Day Added To Meet As Entry Swells via Chicago Tribune
"424 Boy Boxers In Tribune Tourney," via Chicago Tribune
(First mention of "Glove"+ Champions) "Crown City 'Glove Champs' This Evening," via Chicago Tribune
List of 1923 Champions; "Mob Turned Away At Tribune Finals," via Chicago Tribune
Images From Championship Bouts Printed in the Tribune
Image of Tribune's Check for $6247; Money from tourney donated to War Vets
First Team Chicago vs Team NYC event at the Chicago Coliseum with images of the Chicago fightersvia NY Daily News (This is not a national tournament yet)
(It's the glory days of Al Capone) "Beat Chicago Mob," is the headline from the NY Daily News before teams face each other
Image of 8 Champions; "9000 See Final Battles"
"WGN Radio To Broadcast Chicago vs NYC,"via Chicago Tribune
Image, "40,000 at Solders' Field, Largest Crowd to Witness Amateur Bouts," via Chicago Tribune
Mar. 1, 1934 Image of 14,567 at the Stadium. Joe Louis's year via Chicago Tribune
Images. "These 33 boys are the best fighters in Chicagoland..." via Chicago Tribune
"21,509 Pack Stadium (Joe louis & Otis Wilson)," via Chicago Tribune
Otis Wilson, Savoy A.C.- 1934 Heavyweight Champion & International Champion
Mar. 10, 1940 Olympics Cancelled Due To War, but Chicago GG Hosts Team Europe via Chicago Tribune
WGN's "new television station" to broadcast its first live event. Jack Brickhouse ringside for WGN radio & TV from from the Golden Gloves, via Chicago Tribune
"The Golden Gloves Story," a major motion picture, being filmed in Chicago via Chicago Tribune
World Premier of "The Golden Gloves Story," with a parade of celebrities in convertibles arriving at The Oriental Theater via Chicago Tribune
CGG Team Private Audience with Pope Pius XII; European Fight Tour via Chicago Tribune
Charles (Sonny) Liston, Chicago Beats Julius Griffin, New York via Chicago Tribune
Image- Ernie Terrell and 1957 Team via Chicago Tribune
Image- 17 year old "Terrell of Chicago KOs Two (Opponents) in the First (Night)," via Chicago Tribune
Ernest "The Triphammer" Terrell (with image); Chicago Beats NY 7-1 via Chicago Tribune
"Slim" Kent Green Accepts the "Maxim Trophy," with Tony Zale via Chicago Tribune
Head coach of the Chicago Golden Gloves team greases the face of Cassius Clay, 175 pound champion..." via Chicago Tribune
"....Cassius Clay who, if he were a few pounds heavier, night be considered one of the greatest of all time." via Chicago Tribune
"The O'Shea's are at it again- Brian, Tommy, Rory and Mike," via Chicago Tribune
Mar. 8, 1962 Big Benny Black & Rory O'Shea Win Titles in Chicago via Chicago Tribune
Petrecca, a 20 year old unemployed truck driver, faces a classy Gloves field, via Chicago Tribune
Trib announces it will no longer host National Tourney in a fight over head gear; Chicago tourney will continue
Glove Fans Laud Petrecca and (Rory) O'Shea via Chicago Tribune
Champion Featherweight Nick Petrecca feature; Compared to Rocky Graziano, via Chicago Tribune
Albuquerque's Stan Gallup founds The (National) Golden Gloves of America, via Albuquerque Journal
Images- '74 Nat'l team "epitomizes spirit" with 3-time Champ Frank Smith & 3-time champ Abdul Bey via Chicago Tribune
"It's the best tournament," Muhammad Ali to the Chicago Tribune
Full Page; Lee Roy Murphy & 6-time CGG Champ, Wayne Lynumn
Chicago vs NYC- Alfonzo Ratliff, Wayne Lynumn, John Collins, Randy Smith & LeeRoy Murphy via Chicago Tribune
Image: '75, '76, '77, '78, '79 & '80 Open Champ Wayne Lynunm
'78, '79 & '80 CGG Champ & 1980 US Olympian, Leroy Murphy, Interview About Moscow Boycott
Leroy Murphy continued.
4-Time Champion, (the late) JC Camel, featured in the Chicago Tribune
(The late) 5-Time CGG Champ, Terry McGroom, Survives Cabrini Green, Aims for Olympics via Chicago Tribune
McGroom with Tom O'Shea, Story Part 2
Doc Nicholson at the 1992 Olympics via Chicago Tribune
"Left Hooks Are A Girl's Best Friend As Golden Gloves History Is Made," via Chicago Tribune
2-Time CGG Champ & Olympian Nate Jones brings home a bronze and Olympic pride via Chicago Tribune
4-Time CGG Champ, David Diaz, Heads to Olympics via Chicago Tribune
Tom O'Shea, Matadors feature with Anthony Stewart & Nate Jones
Pt. 2 Matadors
Jimmy & George Gonzalez's Entire Family in the Corner via Chicago Tribune
(3-Time Champ) George Pacheco Wins Another Gloves Final
Olympian Michael Bennett feature via Chicago Tribune
"Fight of Their Life," with Rudy Cisneros & Frankie Tafoya
4-Time Champ Amber Gideon & 3-Time Champ Rita Figueroa, "Ladies of the Ring," via Chicago Tribune
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