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Boxing Champ Trainer Hosts Golden Gloves Match in Bushwick Gym

By Meredith Hoffman | February 5, 2013 8:19am

BUSHWICK — After decades of training some of the city's top amateur boxers, coach Juan Rivas is finally hosting the fiery brawls in his own neighborhood — in an eco-friendly gym just steps from his Bushwick apartment.

Rivas — a longtime Bushwick resident who has trained boxers for the past 42 years, including six Golden Gloves champions — is working with the neighborhood's 3-year-old Green Fitness Studio to host a match in the New York Golden Gloves annual tournament next month.  

"I've put on shows for more than 30 years with the Golden Gloves," Rivas, 65, said of the citywide competition organized by the New York Daily News. "I just started working at Green Fitness. This is exciting — it's important for our community."

Rivas, known as "Argentina" after his country of birth, said the gym's boxing ring — made from recycled steel in the metal shop on the gym's ground floor — will host 16 male and female matches on the evening of March 6.

And five of Rivas' Green Fitness Studio students — Mauricio Sandoval, Oscar Moreno, Juan Lopez, Hector Ramirez and Alexis Gutierrez — will also compete in the tournament, the gym's owner Barry Borgen noted.

"They're all from Bushwick," Borgen said. "Everyone who visits our gym is from the neighborhood."

The New York tournament, which kicked off at the end of January and ends at the Barclays Center April 19, is part of USA Boxing's Golden Gloves of America.

When the tournament hits Bushwick, Borgen promised that his gym's 300-seat space on the second floor will be packed with high energy and entertainment.

"We're going to have a Latin DJ from Bushwick," Borgen said of the explosive event. "It's amazing they chose to come to us for the competition."

Green Fitness Studio's match starts at 7 p.m. March 6. Tickets, which are $25, can be purchased on the gym's website.