. Early qualifier action has begun for the spring Golden Gloves regional tournament, and Zanesville athletes are taking part in the competition. Saturday’s sectionals went well for Tri-State Golden Gloves with 21 bouts on the card.
Zanesville’s Jake Harper was matched with Portsmouth’s Branson Johnson in the open men’s middleweight division. Harper boxed through the beginning of the first round with Johnson, using his reach advantage. Before the end of the first round, Harper exploded. He backed Johnson into the ropes, catching him with a variety of shots to set up the second round.
Within 30 seconds into the start of the second round, Harper scored a standing eight-count by the referee with body shots on the inside. After another scored eight-count, it was clear the referee was going to have to stop the fight, as Harper swarmed Johnson. The bout was stopped before the end of the round.
Harper was ranked No. 6 nationally by U.S. Junior Olympics in 2012, and has moved with teammates Zak Rollins, Jeshua Luckett and Travis Jerig into the open men’s division.
Andrew Weaver also was on the card for Zanesville Police Athletic League. He was matched up against Carlos Dixson, of Lexington, Ky., in the senior division at bantamweight. Weaver boxed through the first with the pair each cautious of the other. During the second round, Dixson caught Weaver with a couple of shots that backed him into the ropes twice.
Weaver was not done, and worked in some shots in the third round. The judges, in a split decision, scored the bout in favor of Dixson by one point on one card.
Harper and Weaver attend Tri-Valley High School, with Harper also playing football there. Both are honor students.
The national qualifier for the annual Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions is set for April 5 through 7 in Ashland. The national tournament will take place in May in Salt Lake City.
Locally, the Zanesville team will be showcased in the annual Lucky Gloves Classic boxing show at 7 p.m. Saturday at the ZPAL facility, 804 Pine St. The event raises operating funds for the organization, which includes youth boxing, wrestling, mentoring, arts and crafts, youth leadership council and summer swimming.