Local boxers prove successful at Golden Gloves competition

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

Pawhuska heavyweight Ben Cottingham will representing an Oklahoma-Kansas contingent at next month’s Golden Gloves National Boxing Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Cottingham won the 201-pound open title at the KanOkla regional Golden Gloves event that concluded March 26 in Wichita, Kan.

Fighting in the women’s amateur division, Pawhuska’s Kat Ward won a superior decision in her lone fight at Wichita. The Golden Gloves is for boxers ages 18 to 34.

Local trainer Earl Gilkey said Reed earned her first-ever Golden Gloves victory by being the aggressor throughout her 140-pound lightweight bought.

“Four of the five judges ruled her the winner,” said Gilkey. “It was a fairly close fight, but I thought it should have been unanimous.”

Ward, whose previous ring appearances were as a kick-boxer, scored a second-round knockdown en route to her victory.

Cottingham was unopposed in the Open heavyweight division at Wichita. Although the fighter has compiled a 24-5 career boxing record, most of those bouts came during his bid for the light-heavyweight spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

“Ben hadn’t had a fight in three years until about a month ago,” said Gilkey, who trains the boxers at his downtown Pawhuska Karate Studio.

According to Gilkey, Cottingham is well-suited for the heavyweight division.

“His frame is just about right for that division,” Gilkey said of the 6-2 Cottinghgam. “Over 201 pounds would put us in the super-heavyweight division, though, and we don’t want to be there.”

In March, Cottingham fought at the higher weight at Branson, Mo. Gilkey said his fighter’s opponent was more than 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighed over 250 pounds. Although Cottingham lost against the much-larger foe, Gilkey said he thought the Pawhuskan should have been awarded the three-round decision.

“Ben broke the guy’s nose,” said Gilkey. “Neither fighter was knocked down.”

Gilkey said he hopes to be in his fighter’s corner at the National Golden Gloves Tournament, although Cottingham will fly to Salt Lake City separately — with the rest of the K-O team.

“We’ll be working hard to get him ready,” the Pawhuska trainer said.