By Bruce Amaro
---- — They lost in the ring, but gained a winning edge through the experience.
The Haverhill Downtown Boxing club had two fighters in the finals of this year’s Greater Lowell Golden Gloves.
The outcome for both novice class middleweight Thomas O’Connell of North Andover and novice lightweight Geraldo Torres of Haverhill was a loss, but they and their trainers said the future is bright for both fighters.
The boxers from Haverhill’s newest boxing gym made it to the finals in their first season. They were stopped in their matches last week at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.
Torres fell and broke an ankle in the first round of his fight.
Later, O’Connell fought all three rounds of his bout, but lost on points.
Torres, a 16-year-old weighing 132 pounds, fought 15-year-old Joshua Martinez from the West End Gym in Lowell. It was Martinez’s first fight, said West End owner Arthur Ramahlo.
Early in the first round, Martinez hit Torres hard. As Torres lost his balance, his foot slipped under his leg, and he fell and broke an ankle, said Ray Hebert, trainer from the Haverhill gym. Torres was taken out of the ring and has undergone surgery to his ankle.
Torres has eight of the 10 fights he needs to move him out of the novice class and into the open category for the next Golden Gloves matches.
O’Connell fought Evan Payne from the Somerville Boxing Club. They looked evenly matched, said Haverhill’s Assistant Trainer Edwin Pastrana, but fought different styles.
“They were both good fighters, but boxed differently,” said Pastrana, who is a former Haverhill Golden Gloves champion.
O’Connell tried to go inside and throw short punches, but Payne was too strong for him.
“My plan was to box him, move him around,’’ O’Connell said. “I should’ve stayed on the outside. He was big, and we got tangled up a lot, and we wrestled. He’s what you call a brawler, not much movement, and grabbed at you.’’
O’Connell got caught up fighting in close where he did not want to be, and he lost points for contact that lasted too long, called holding by the referee.
“The other guy was bigger and harder to move. Tom didn’t get out of the way,” Hebert said of O’Connell.
Hebert said he plans to continue training the boxers for next year’s Golden Gloves and join in boxing shows throughout the region.
The Golden Gloves matches begin every year in January and run though to the end of February. Scheduled fights in each class eliminate boxers until they reach the semi-finals and finals, when one boxer in each class takes a title. The novice class boxers do not enter the national finals, but those in the open class move ahead in the bouts, which end with a national championship in Las Vegas each year.