APJ Boxing Club eyes “Golden Gloves”

 

By Stefan Anderson

POUGHKEEPSIE-It was just six months ago, while preparing for his second annual boxing showcase,  Upstate vs. New York City, when APJ Boxing trainer/owner Kariym Patterson, envisioned his talent transform from its humble beginnings in 2012 to budding talent here in 2016.

To turn their compact gym on Catherine St, into a household name has been the objective since its opening. The affirmation is now within six rounds as two of the gym’s fighters, Tyriece Stokes and Dominque Crowder set to compete for in the 89th annual, New York Daily News Golden Gloves championship in the 178 lb. and 123 lb. open divisions.

“I say this every day, this is our year” said Crowder.

Determination has been the pillar for APJ as they continue to strive for greatness.  From trainer to fighters, the same message resonates through the boxing Club.

“It’s a blessing to be here, but I know I’m here because of hard work and dedication” says Stokes. “From Monday through Sunday, we work hard, no days off” added the 123-pounder Crowder.

For Stokes, the fight on Wednesday evening at the Empire City Casino versus former Golden Glove finalist, Patrick Aristhene, will be the biggest test in the Poughkeepsie native career.

After stepping in the ring for the first time in 2013, the 178-pounder remembers when he first began the sport, “I remember when I first started, I could barely even jump rope and now I am mixing it up with some of the best,” said Stokes. “But it doesn’t feel complete until I put those gloves around my neck and I’m the Golden Gloves champ.”

“It’s a lot of great things about him but it’s his will to become a great in this sport that will take him higher,” said the APJ owner/trainer, “If he wants it bad enough, he will get it.”

Crowder, after migrating from the city of Baltimore, MD, has found a home in Poughkeepsie especially at APJ. “I did the right thing at the right time and I feel like this is what I am supposed to be doing”, Crowder stated.  With his lanky 6’2 frame at 123 pounds makes him scarce at that weight class. But it is the “Dominator’s” passion is what makes him unique.  As Patterson puts it “Coming from fighting in the streets, Dom has a lot of heart and he never gets rattled.”

The rematch with finalist Ariel Lopez, on April 18th at the Barclays Center has also been on his checklist since the defeat. “He beat in 2013, it was split decision last time but this time I want to take him out”, said the former Baltimore Native.

“I think these guys will be successful, just based on their will to want it” said Patterson.

 

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Thunder in Oklahoma City

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By Stefan Anderson

It was all good just a week ago, well maybe a few weeks ago.

Prior to the All-Star break the Oklahoma City Thunder were rolling through teams, gathering wins in seven of its eight games during the stretch, and showing they are amongst the elite of the NBA. It has been a different story as of late for OKC , losing its last six of eight games heading into a downward spiral heading into the latter part of the season. But what has caused the Thunder to come falling down ?

The second ranked offensive team has struggled to complete games due to their inconsistencies of lineups have led the Thunder to fall out of the discussion of the top teams and one game from losing their 3rd place standing in the Western Conference.

OKC’s lineup has two gaps in the shooting guard and center position.

Since James Harden was sent to Houston, the Thunder has yet to find a solution at the two spot.  Andre Roberson has shouldered the load due his defense prowess but offensively just allows teams to help on drives and trap the teams prolific scorers, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Dion Waiters appeared to be a solution for a brief stint , but his streaky shooting has given Coach Billy Donavon and fellow teammates headaches. Although OKC traded for Randy Foye at the trade deadline, Foye has yet to find his niche amongst his new roster.

Why not give a proven shooter an opportunity? Anthony Morrow has been known to be less of a defender than a Roberson, but has a better offensive skill set than Roberson and with Waiters giving the Thunder a -5.7 rating while on the court and not to mention his current 24/68 shooting slump over the past  few games. I think Morrow makes a good fill-in for Thunder.

Also, Steven Adams gives solid minutes each night as a starter we practically ever seen their $70 million dollar signee, Enes Kanter,when it matters.  Kanter gives the Thunder another scorer when the possessions are closer allows another option for Durant and Westbrook to make more plays.

During the limited minutes experienced the lineup of Westbrook, Morrow, Durant, Ibaka and Kanter has been a plus in the majority of categories including points and field goal efficiency.  I am aware that the two players listed are not adept defenders but they Thunder have not been able to come up with stops with better defenders on the floor and cannot gain points either.

In their recent fourth quarter debacles, the Thunder have reverted to their old offensively ways of Durant/Westbrook isolate and score.  The two are in the top ten in isolation possessions this season, with Durant in 6th with 220 and Westbrook in 8th with 199, but have taken nearly half of their team’s shots during the final period.

For example:

  • In their loss to Indiana: Durant and Westbrook combined for 9-21 shots taken in the 4th.
  • Loss to vs New Orleans , 16-24
  • Loss to Golden State, 13-24
  • Loss to LA Clippers , 11-20
  • Loss to Golden State, 11-20

That ball stopping offense cannot help them win as it has been proven these past two weeks. The lineup change could be what they are looking with the recent slide. The Thunder are one of the best teams in the NBA, but will fall short again if they cannot figure out to close out games.