Eight boxers from Eagle’s Mean Street club battle at state Golden Gloves tournament | VailDaily.com

Eight boxers from Eagle’s Mean Street club battle at state Golden Gloves tournament

Competitors include returning champs Roberto Castillo and David Muruato

As our valley’s focus turns to GoPro Mountain Games action in Vail this weekend, a group of valley residents have descended on Pueblo for their own monumental athletic endeavor.

Eight competitors from Eagle’s Mean Street Boxing Club are duking it out at the Colorado Golden Gloves Tournament this week. Competition began Tuesday and will conclude with final rounds on Saturday.

Tournament favorites include Eagle’s Roberto Castillo, 25, who will attempt to win his second Golden Gloves title in the 125-pound Open Class after winning the Novice title in 2019. David Muruato, 10, will attempt to win his third consecutive Golden Gloves title after winning championships the past two years.

Michael Pisciotta launched the Eagle Mean Street Boxing program in 2016 and currently has 25 athletes registered with USA Boxing and five registered and certified coaches. The boxing gym is housed in the former Eagle Town Hall site on Second Street and is open Tuesdays and Thursdays for athletes ages 8 to 34 years. There are also fitness membership options for boxers who are older than 34 or for enthusiasts who want a boxing workout without the contact of sparring or competition.

Most of the boxers who participate in the Eagle program are classified as novices, which mean they have competed in fewer than 10 bouts. But it’s not just about competition preparation at Mean Street.

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“Mean Street Boxing was founded in 1990 in Lincoln, Nebraska, for at-risk and disadvantaged youth as a way to curb juvenile delinquency, drug and alcohol use, and to develop amateur boxing into a healthy, constructive activity,” Pisciotta said. “I know that if a kid is training in my gym, they aren’t out on the street getting into trouble. They also have to be doing well in school in order to continue to participate.”

Robert Pisciotta offers some coaching advice during a recent Mean Street Boxing practice in Eagle.
Barry Eckhaus/Special to the Daily

Safety first

Pisciotta is willing to teach any committed student how to box. That means he sees a wide array of skill sets.

“The most important priority of the Mean Street Boxing program is the safety of our kids,” Pisciotta said. “Every participant is taught the basic fundamentals of boxing and self-defense, and no one is put into the ring to spar or compete without having a proper knowledge of boxing basics and without being at a level of physical fitness which supports that activity.”

Pisciotta fervently believes boxing basics and good physical conditioning are what prepare youth to meet the challenges they will face in the ring. And he knows that boxing takes a level of commitment that many kids aren’t ready to make.

“Each boxer progresses at their own pace, but boxing isn’t for everyone and most youth won’t stick with the program because it requires patience, determination and hard work,” he said. “The boxers that do stick with the program will develop those character traits and will also be able to transfer those attributes into successes in other areas of their lives such as education, employment and life skills.”

His eight Golden Gloves competitors represent that description. Pisciotta said they will learn a great deal at this week’s state tournament and that’s just one step in a larger educational journey.

“Beyond boxing skills, I teach that boxing is a microcosm of life,” Pisciotta explained. “When life knocks you down, you get back up. When life hits you hard, you fight back harder. In boxing there is no one to block for you, no one to pass the ball to, you are alone in the ring. Boxing teaches self-sufficiency, self-discipline and a strong work ethic.”

And when Pisciotta is in charge of a lesson, he gives his students plenty of straight talk.

“Life is tough. A winner must be tougher. We owe it to our kids to tell them that,” he said.

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