By Jay Mwamba
Camlough lightweight Sean Mallon reached the quarterfinals of the New York Daily News Golden Gloves 132-pound Open division without throwing a punch last week.
Only eight entrants weighed in for the first round at the Old Glory building behind Yonkers Raceway last Wednesday, forcing the organizers to scrap the night’s action in the competitive division.
The eight amateur fighters, among them the nationally ranked Paul Malignaggi, all advanced to the quarterfinals which are scheduled for next month.
Mallon, who won the Metro Games lightweight crown on his last trip to New York two years ago, wasn’t exactly thrilled at having his year 2000 Gloves debut scuttled. Neither were a vanload of family and friends who drove from Paramus, N.J., to watch their County Armagh kinsman duke it out.
"It’s a pity. I was looking forward to getting a fight tonight," the 21 year-old Mallon said.
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His aunt, Joan Mallon, and sister Michelle, both from Paramus, shared his disappointment. "We drove down with a vanload of supporters. We’re disappointed that he didn’t fight," Joan said.
Mallon’s trainer, Conor Higgins, however, managed to put a positive spin on his 40-10 charge’s no-fight.
"He’s in the quarterfinals, so that’s a positive," Higgins said. "It would have been good to get a fight. But this gives us more time to get ready for his next bout."
Of the other quarterfinalists, Higgins tabbed Malignaggi, who’s 19 and fresh from the Olympic trials, as the pick of the lot. "But his style of boxing would suit Sean," the young trainer quickly added.
Malignaggi reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Olympic trials in Tampa recently and is a big favorite to clinch the Gloves title.
"It’s always easier not to fight, but I was prepared to fight and win," Malignaggi said, referring to the aborted first round action.
Mallon joins his 19 year-old brother Martin and County Westmeath’s Alo Kelly, both light heavyweights, in the quarterfinals of America’s oldest and biggest boxing tournament, which is now in its 73rd year.
The trio is representing the Irish Ropes BC of Maspeth, Queens. The club’s other fighter on last Wednesday’s program, Juan Torres, was stopped by Jose Cardona in the second round of a 139-pound novice contest.