SALEM - For the fifth year in a row, the Salem Boxing Club is participating in Cleveland Area Golden Gloves Qualifying Tournament.
Three boxers from the club are showcasing their skills in the four-week tournament, which began Saturday at The Word Church Multiplex in Warrensville.
"The guys have been training very hard," club owner/coach Bobby Plegge said. "They know it's coming up. They have all progressed over the weeks."
This year's participants from the Salem club are Matt Novicky of the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department, Wade Morrow, a marine from Beloit, and Isaac Garlough, a senior at South Range who will enter the National Guard after graduation.
"It is a little bit nerve-wracking from all that excitement," Garlough said. "It's like I've been training for so long for so many months and now it's come to the very peak of it, and now you try to prove yourself."
Along with Novicky and Morrow, Garlough trains three nights a week, and says the training helps him in another sport.
"I come here Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, which is good because I'm also in track which helps keep me conditioned," Garlough said.
Garlough has also been appreciative of support and help from his teammates.
"They're both really great guys," Garlough said. "Wade has shown me a couple things like how to block. Matt's a good guy too. He's always got a smile on his face."
One who enters the gym on East Pershing Street may experience a strong presence of positivity during training.
"Everybody here has been very team-friendly," Garlough said. "Everybody is here to support you because there are no negative comments. It always brings you up, it never brings you down. It's a very encouraging atmosphere."
While trainer Ron Jackson may be tough in training, his motive is to remain positive and respectful. Jackson discourages any negative attitude or behavior during training.
"This is a Christian-family atmosphere," Jackson said. "I will not allow foul language or any type of disrespect. We have female trainees at the gym, and I will not let a boy disrespect a girl here."
Along with the strong sense of positivity, the club has also held training sessions with other boxing clubs throughout northeast Ohio, which they said was beneficial.
"We've had boxing clubs from Alliance and Warren come here," Plegge said. "They have been impressed when they come here, and they have also shown us a few things as well. They have worked good and have been able to help us out."
Sanctioned by the Lake Erie Association of U.S. Boxing, male and female boxers are placed in ten weight classes, ranging from 108 to 201-plus for men, and from 106 to 178-plus for women, and will compete in three-round bouts.
Bell time is 6 p.m. Saturdays. The finals will be held April 26.