The 86th Annual Daily News Golden Gloves tournament kicks off tonight at BB King's Blues Club and Grill where young athletes across the metropolitan New York area can potentially set the wheels in motion toward a future pro boxing career. One such young man has done exactly that – the 152-pound 2012 New York Golden Gloves champion Patrick Day, trained by coach Joe Higgins from the Freeport P.A.L Boxing Gym, made his pro debut last week and won in scintillating fashion with a first round knockout. The Freeport resident shared with Boxing 101 the experience of winning the first fight in what is expected to be a very promising career.
Day, a highly decorated amateur with several tournament championships under his belt that include the 2012 USA Boxing National title along with the Golden Gloves victory, is now an undefeated light middleweight professional following a :59 knockout of Zachariah Kelley (1-2, 1 KO's) in front of his hometown fans at BB King's on January 23. Although his pro debut was a moment the 20-year old Day was physically and mentally prepared for, it caused some pre-fight anxiety.
"It didn't really show but I was very jittery on the inside. I had a lot of nerves going on because it's a new game, a lot of new things to look out for as a pro," said Day of the maturity and experience level of the opposition he expects to face as a professional.
Once the bell rang, however, Day was not only able to shake the nerves but also quickly ascertained Kelley's vulnerabilities.
"Within the first few seconds of the fight, I knew I was going to win. I wasn't sure if it was going to be a knockout but I knew that there was a strong possibility I was going to knock him out just because of the fact that his reactions were a little bit delayed and the punches that he was susceptible to were punches that I'm very good at. Body shots, solar plexus punches and hooks to the temple are all things I'm good at. I saw that he was vulnerable to all of those so I knew it was going to be a good night for me," observed Day.
It certainly was a good night for the young man as he dropped Kelley with a clean left hook to the chin after having peppered his bewildered opponent with jabs over the first minute of the fight.
"He was getting very frustrated with my movement so he tried to just run at me and close up the distance," explained Day who kept Kelley at bay with his longer reach and attempted to make the 27-year old kickboxer from Oklahoma even more uncomfortable with a mini-bolo punch earlier in the round.
"He got very frustrated with being at the end of my punches so he decided to charge in with a punch and he opened up. I saw the opening for a split second and before I even knew I was throwing a punch, the punch had already hit him."
The focused Day, who continues to train daily, is hopeful he can return to the ring as soon as late February so he can keep the momentum going in his young career and get his hand raised in victory again.
"I'm more motivated than ever because winning feels so good, especially doing it as a professional. It feels amazing."
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