RYAN PIETRANTONIO REACHES GOLDEN GLOVES FINAL
By Lorenzo Recupero
If you’re from Everett, the last name Pietrantonio probably rings a bell. And For one young member of the well-known family, the ringing of the bell means, in the voice of the legendary Michael Buffer, “let’s get ready to rumble!”
Rumbling is exactly what Ryan Pietrantonio, a 2010 high school football state champion and Everett High School grad, will be doing come Thursday, February 21 at the Lowell Auditorium as part of the New England Golden Gloves Novice Championship.
Ryan, who has been boxing for just over two years out of the Somerville Boxing Club in Somerville,MA has amassed a nearly flawless 9-1 overall record while taking home championships from both the Rocky Marciano Tournament and the prestigious New England Golden Gloves Tournament this winter.
The 73rd annual Golden Gloves Tournament kicked off on January 10 and since then Ryan has won 4 bouts, earning himself the Western New England Golden Gloves title and the right to fight for the overall New England title against Hartford, CT native Raul Cruz.
Pietrantonio will be fighting in the 152-pound weight class.
“The whole boxing thing was a surprise to us,” said Peter Pietrantonio, Ryan’s father, who was taken aback when his son came home one day with a helmet and boxing gloves in hand. “We knew he was a tough kid, but to randomly take up boxing and then be really good at, that’s something else,” he said while recalling asking Ryan what was up before getting the reply “I’m a boxer.”
For just over two years, Ryan has been boxing for the Somerville Boxing Club, with head trainer Alex Rivera, who’s seen many greats walk through those gyms doors, including local legend from Chelsea John Ruiz, who later became the first ever WBO Latino Heavyweight Champion.
“I originally went to the Somerville Boxing Club just to workout. I played sports my whole life and so I’d go to stay in shape and coaches and trainers there noticed me and asked me If I was interested in becoming a boxer, and who doesn’t want to learn how to protect themselves?,” said Ryan on how his journey from loving football and other sports in high school set him up for standing tall on the canvas.
“Eventually, I wasn’t doing anything pretty much but box. There’s no basketball, or flag football for me anymore, I just box,” he said.
On Thursday, with a win at the Lowell Auditorium against Raul Cruz, Pietrantonio has a shot at cementing himself with some of the boxings all-time greats that have participated in the Golden Gloves tourney, including Rocky Marciano, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mickey Ward, and Marvin Hagler.
Pietrantonio boxes with an orthodox stance and describes himself as a pure boxer rather than a brawler.
“I’m more of a boxer than a brawler. My trainer is about focusing on what needs to be done to win fights. I’m a hit and don’t get hit kinda guy. I can rumble, but I like to dip- and-dodge” he said.
And from the spectators box outside the ring, it looks like Ryan’s been doing just that.
“Ryan has good skills. You see a lot of raw brawlers in the novices, but he seems to be a good technical boxer and looks like he has more experience than he does,” said New England Golden Gloves Director Bob Russo, who has watched all of the tourney’s fights so far. “Ryan looks really good, and If I had to say, I would say he is the favorite to win it all,” said Russo.
And win or lose at the Golden Gloves finale, Ryan says has taken away a lot from his time in the ring so far.
“Self-discipline and self-love is what I’ve learned,” said Pietrantonio. “Boxing teaches you to be able to do the right thing in life and for your health. I can control myself in a better manner now,” he said.
Should he prevail, Ryan says it’ll not only be a personal triumph, but one for his hometown.
“My family has been here for generations. I’m all about Everett. I’m all Everett until I die,” he said.