CHICAGO — Bill Stritzel waited almost 20 years to hand his daughters a hard-earned Golden Gloves trophy.
The nearly two-decade wait was worth it.
Stritzel, of Wrigleyville, first tried to claim a Golden Gloves crown 20 years ago, when he was a 34-year-old going through a divorce. His twin daughters, Cori and Kristin, were 5 at the time. Stritzel was so determined that he lied about his age to qualify for the 32-and-under Golden Gloves division. He said he lied for three more years to be able to fight in the contest, which was age restricted at the time.
"My goal was to win Golden Gloves, so I could give them a trophy to show them that they were my inspiration," said Stritzel, a Gordon Tech graduate.
Sr. Editor Justin Breen tells us about Bill Stritzel's boxing journey.
Fast forward almost 20 years and Stritzel was finally able to win the hardware. Stritzel, an assistant football coach and security guard at Curie High School, prides himself on staying in better shape than his football players, who have won the last two city championships.
He never stopped training, and when he found out last year that Golden Gloves added an all-age Masters Division, he joined the fray.
This time, he prevailed, and added a second straight title this month. In 2015, he flew to his twin daughters' place in Santa Barbara, Calif., and handed them the golden trophy.
"It's just a blessing," said Stritzel, now 54. "I got through it and won it. It's what I love to do."
Said Kristin Stritzel: "It was so sweet. Taking a picture with the trophy was really an honor."
Stritzel shared his honors with his nephews, Billy and Tommy, both Notre Dame College Prep graduates and Jefferson Park natives. The brothers for years had trained with Stritzel, and Billy won a Golden Gloves title in 2015. Tommy earned a championship this year.
"Boxing has been so good to our family," said Stritzel, who believes both Tommy and Billy have pro fighter potential.
Curie sophomore football coach Brad Gill described Stritzel as a role model for all of the Condor players.
"He leads the young men in the weight room, turning boys to men, and often outworks the athletes," said Gill, of Lakeshore East. "He leads by example, demonstrating that hard work leads to success in anything you do."
Stritzel said he has no plans to stop fighting. He's puts his health, and future boxing, in God's hands.
"I don't know how long God is going to let me do it, but I'm going to until my body breaks down," he said. "I have deep faith in God. I let him handle it. He's my strength."
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