Kariym Patterson raved about the talents of an up-and-coming boxer in his gym, marveling at the coordination and a natural aptitude, along with a work ethic spurred by the strong desire to improve.
Lil’ Emily is gonna be really good, the coach insisted. Some day. After all, she’s only 5.
But it’s her dad, another of Patterson’s pupils, who could excel in the near future.
Poughkeepsie resident Nivon Stufano has a chance to become the second local fighter in recent years to win a Golden Gloves title as he competes in the USA Boxing Metropolitan semifinals on Saturday.
The 29-year-old is among the headliners of the 2023 Ring Masters Championships at the Majed J. Nesheiwat Convention Center. The event begins with a 3 p.m. weigh-in. Should Stufano win his bout, he advances to the final at Madison Square Garden in April.
“He has great willpower,” said Patterson, who owns APJ Boxing in Poughkeepsie, where Stufano has trained for four years. “He’s relentless and doesn’t give in to anything, not even being tired. Skills-wise, he has improved tremendously.”
Stufano has won three of four fights in his early competitive career, but the upcoming match is a significant step for the 139-pounder. He hopes to follow a path similar to Dominique Crowder, a former standout at APJ who won two Golden Gloves titles. The Hyde Park product became a professional boxer in 2019.
“When he first started with us, I told a friend he’s gonna be good and he was skeptical,” Patterson said of Stufano. “The guy said, ‘I don’t see him having a future in boxing.’ He was raw at the time and he struggled early on, but he’s learned a lot and gotten so much better. He’s coming along quickly.”
Another of the interesting matches Saturday is in the Masters category with 68-year-old Mike Muth entering the ring. The retired teacher and Lagrangeville resident will square off with 71-year-old Martin Hopwood of Long Island.
The Masters is a sanctioned division for longtime fighters over the age of 35 who have never fought professionally in any combat sport.
“They’re an example of grit and determination not fading away with age,” said Anthony Bongiorni, who is organizing and promoting the event. “A lot of these older guys work harder than some young boxers. Not to mention, some of them are still very talented.”
Article written by Stephen Haynes for The Poughkeepsie Journal.