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.