Twin Falls woman wins National Golden Glove boxing tournament

May 23, 2018

OMAHA, Nebraska — A Twin Falls woman has won first in her weight class in the National Golden Gloves Tournament.

Kendra Reeves, who was ranked ninth in the country for women’s boxing, went up against Stephanie Malone, who was ranked first.

Reeves had a difficult first round in the Saturday fight, getting two standing eight counts — when a referee stops the action for eight seconds and determines if the boxer can continue. A boxer can only have four before it’s considered a technical knockout.

In the second round, Reeves, 24, said she decided to give it her all. In the third and final round the two traded blow for blow.

“It was the hardest fight I’ve had yet,” Reeves said.

In a video posted on her Facebook, the two fighters’ arms extend and return to the guarding position in a matter of milliseconds. Each punch has a deadly snap. Reeves has a left hook Malone can’t seem to dodge. After a string of combos, the hook never fails to land.

“Kendra made a statement out there,” her fiance and coach Jason Samargis said.

After the bell, Reeves was declared the winner with a 4 to 1 split between the judges.

The victory still doesn’t feel real, she said.

Reeves started boxing just a year ago as a form of weight loss. She said her fiance inspired her to box, and she owes him everything because of his belief in her.

Samargis said the next stop is the Roy Jones tournament in three weeks. After that, she’ll compete in the the Team U.S.A. qualifiers in October and if she’s successful there, the Team U.S.A. Nationals in December.

Samargis said that winning the National Golden Gloves gets a lot of attention.

The Golden Gloves are a series of amateur boxing tournaments that started in 1928. To fight at the national tournament, a boxer must win at the regional level and to go there, they have to win State Golden Gloves.

This year’s Golden Gloves National Tournament of Champions was the first time in its 90-plus year history that men’s and women’s bouts were featured at the same venue. Longtime National Golden Gloves Executive Director Jim Beasley said female boxers had approached him about being on the same stage as the male boxers. This was Beasley’s final Golden Gloves tournament before he retired.

“They wanted to show the world what they’ve got,” Beasley said.

Alongside Reeves, two women from Utah fought for national Golden Gloves — a record for the Rocky Mountain Region.