By Charles Jay
When you endeavor to do something different, it helps to have people to provide the proper guidance. And that’s why Boxing Insider was fortunate to be able to work with someone like Sonya Lamonakis, who currently serves as Vice President and Registration Chair of USA Boxing Metro, which governs amateur boxing in the New York metropolitan area.
They’ll oversee “Boxing Insider Fight Night,” which takes place on Thursday night at the Sony Hall in Times Square (235 W. 46th Street, to be exact).
Most of you probably know Sonya from her days as a professional boxer. She campaigned for the better part of seven years as a heavyweight, in a career that was highlighted by a decision win over Carlette Ewell to win the IBO championship in December 2014.
Possessor of a master’s degree in education, she is now a math teacher in the New York City public school system.
We did a little Q&A with her about amateur boxing on all levels.
Q: How do you observe amateur boxing impacting the young people who get involved, as far as their future is concerned, whether they progress to the next level or not?
A: Well, you ask, why do people box? People box for different reasons. Some get involved for a future, some get involved for the love of the sport, and some get involved for personal growth. If you plan on being a successful professional fighter having an extensive background in the amateurs will help. You can see when the big fights come, which professionals had amateur careers. All the boxers on top now have had amateur experience, that’s where you learn your craft, fine tune, and decide whether or not this life is for you.
Q: How lively is the amateur boxing “scene” in the NY Metro area as compared to other areas you’re aware of? Is it on the upswing?
A: Well, being the VP of USA BOXING METRO, and the registration chairwoman, we are ranked in the top 3 in America. The National office in Colorado counts on Metro as a leading example of how a successful LBC should run.
We are one of the top performing LBC (local boxing committee) in the country. We have a big membership of athletes, coaches, doctors, and officials. We host over 80 sanctioned shows a year. We have athletes come from other LBC’s to compete in Metro shows. We run the most sought after tournament in America, The Ring Masters, for their chance to box at Madison Square Garden, other popular venues include, the Barclay Center, Sony Hall, Classic Car Club of Manhattan and also our famous gyms like Gleason’s Gym Church Street Boxing, and Gotham.
Q: Having a show (and hopefully a series of them) at this particular venue, in Times Square – does it have the potential of helping to raise the profile of amateur boxing in the area?
A: Yes, premium venues motivate athletes to join USA Boxing Metro, for the chance to compete at a venue where other big celebrities have competed at.
Q: Would you say the future of amateur boxing on a national and even world level is promising, despite the turmoil that we see on these higher levels?
A: Yes, the future of amateur boxing is promising, boxing has been around since ancient times and will be around in the future. It’s only getting bigger and better. Remember the famous author, who didn’t like women’s boxing said, “The only thing square in boxing is the ring”
Q: As we discussed, you hold down a full-time job. How in the world do you find time to devote to all these amateur boxing shows in the NY area (and I have seen that schedule – it’s robust)?
A: Teachers are good at planning and preparation. Lucky for me, I have a great team with me. We all work together for the success of the LBC. We have a board of directors that volunteer to make this organization a success.
Q: How’s our guy Larry (Goldberg, of Boxing Insider) coming along in this new pursuit of his?
A: Larry is doing great because he has the right team behind him. He has always supported amateur boxing, women’s boxing and even my own journey in boxing. We are looking forward to a great partnership with Larry and Boxinginsider.com on building premium shows for our athletes to get the chance to box under the bright lights.