CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – The Western Pennsylvania Police Athletic League (WPAL) is a place where young kids are mentored by police and community members through exercise.
It’s also home to some of the best boxers in Pennsylvania, who will be entering the ring next month to fight in the Golden Gloves right in their hometown of DuBois.
The impact this event makes on this non-profit gym is tremendous, with executive director Aaron Beatty calling it the pulse and lifeline of the WPAL DuBois. The fighters are putting on the finishing touches ahead of the Golden Gloves on March 19 at the DuBois Country Club. Vip tickets are sold out, but you can still reserve a seat for $30. Beatty says those tickets are about halfway sold out. You can purchase tickets here.
Having this tournament right here allows for exposure of the sport in town – watching some of the best compete, even some of their own.
“I’ve been boxing for almost six years, and I’ve definitely been training hard for this. So I’m super, super excited,” Aviana Gillaugh said, who is fighting for a state title in the Golden Gloves. “I’m pumped, I’m excited about fighting. This is my second Golden Gloves” added TJ Weaver, who is also going to be fighting for the state title.
Both of these kids hope to be crowned state champs and continue on their road to nationals, and even a possible Olympic qualification.
“I’m hoping to bring home a state title after the Golden Gloves,” Weaver said.
This is the ninth time WPAL DuBois will host a Golden Gloves event in the six years since Aaron Beatty first opened the gym, which offers free membership to kids under 18, as well as police and first responders.
“Having a place where kids can go after school where they can be around like-minded individuals, and mentors from all walks of life we thought was a great opportunity,” Beatty said.
For Avianna and TJ, the WPAL DuBois is where they’ve grown into the fighters they are today.
“It’s helped me stand up for myself and gain confidence in myself and realize who I was,” said Gillaugh. “Coming here and practicing with all these other kids… it’s fun. Doing a lot of sparring and stuff,” Weaver added.
The two DuBois natives hope their hard work can lead to a Golden Gloves title.
“My friends are going to come to watch me and some of my family is going to come to watch me and I’m really excited to fight in my hometown,” Gillaugh said.