Mike Tyson, one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time, was a celebrity guest on the final night of the New England Golden Glove Tournament March 10 at Lowell Auditorium.
Everett’s Gilbert Kabamba saw Tyson, but Gilbert knew he had to stay focused on his own, upcoming title bout later that evening.
“Gilbert saw Iron Mike walk right by him in the locker room, but he was getting ready for his title fight,” said his coach, Dennis Wilcox.
Kabamba knew all about the phenomenal career of Tyson, who became the youngest heavyweight champion at the age of 20.
“I saw the great Mike Tyson, but there were a lot of people around him and I didn’t get to talk to him,” related Kabamba.
Hours later, Kabamba won his bout for the undisputed New England Golden Gloves heavyweight championship. The former Everett High School football standout finished the region’s premier amateur boxing tournament in Lowell with a 5-0 record.
“Gilbert was very impressive throughout the tournament,” said Willcox, co-director of the Broadway Boxing Club where Gilbert does his training. “Gilbert’s conditioning was good. He was outpunching his opponents. For a big guy, Gilbert did a lot of great things. He’s a great student under Joe Ricciardi, who’s really taking him along well.”
At 6-feet, 3 inches and 250 pounds, Kabamba, 20, becomes the first champion out of the Broadway Boxing Club (BBC) that opened in January 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic forced BBC directors Willcox and Ricciardi to cancel training sessions for several months.
“It’s feels amazing to win the Golden Gloves,” said Kabamba. “My opponent was coming right at me, so I used my power, and speed to land my punches, along with some finesse.”
Kabamba feels the title will be a confidence-booster as he continues his amateur career.
“I’m working hard every day and I believe in myself,” said Kabamba, whose mother, Marie Jeanne Ntamulenga, attended the Golden Gloves Tournament. “I have the best coaches. I love working with them, and it’s an honor to represent the club.”
Ricciardi said Kabamba showed a lot of poise under the bright lights.
“Gilbert knows how to win, and he has all the potential. To be honest, the only one who can beat him is himself,” said Ricciardi. “He has a lot of talent. He picks up things quick, but more importantly he works hard.”
Kabamba will be fighting Paul Casey in his next bout April 2 in Hartford. Everett boxer Shea Willcox, who was a finalist at the Golden Gloves, will also return to the ring.