Longtime Lafayette boxing coach Beau Williford has been working, planning and politicking for some 25 years now with the dream of one day landing the National Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament of the Champions in Lafayette.
On Saturday, that long stretch of hoping and praying is over. In a unanimous 31-0 vote, Lafayette was awarded the bid to host the 2017 National Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament of the Champions over Omaha, Neb., on May 1-6, 2017 at the Cajundome.
“I’ve been politicking the franchise holders around the country and trying to get their support for a long time,” Williford said. “It’s very exciting. We felt good about our chances, but you never know how the vote is going to go.”
The official bid was presented at approximately 9 a.m. Saturday morning in Salt Lake City, Utah by Williford and Karen Primeaux of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission. The local contingent got the good news almost an hour and half later.
“We thought we had it in 2012,” Williford said. “Going into that vote in 2012, I would have bet you a million dollars to a doughnut hole that we were going to get it and we lost by one vote 16-15, so I didn’t want to get too overconfident. But we did like our chances.”
Williford said also playing a huge role in Lafayette landing the national event were: the Louisiana Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Joey Durel’s Lafayette Consolidated Government office, TownSquare Media and the Cajundome.
“Without the help of all of those people, we never would have been able to do it,” Williford said. “Greg Davis and all the people at the Cajundome have been extremely helpful. They really wanted this event.”
And yet without officially knowing it would take place, Williford said the local organizing committee hasn’t been fully comprised as of yet. That process “starts on Monday.”
Over 300 boxers from all 50 states, as well as over 1,100 tournament officials and over 400 coaches will be expected to visit Lafayette for the week-long event.