The Golden Gloves tournament is an American institution that takes centre stage in the amateur boxing world - a single-elimination contest in which young hopefuls square off in steamy gyms with the boxing elite looking on. Robert Anasi took up boxing in his 20s to keep in shape, attract women and sharpen his knuckles for the odd bar fight. He thought of entering 'the Gloves', but always put it off. Finally, at the age of 33 - his last year of eligibility - he vowed to fight, even though he was an old man in a sport of teenagers and would have to starve himself all winter to make weight come tournament time. So begins Anasi's obsessive preparation for the Golden Gloves. He finds Milton, a wily and abusive trainer, and joins his Supreme Team: a young black man who used to deal guns in Harlem, a bus driver with five kids and a hard-hitting woman champion who becomes his sparring partner. Meanwhile, he observes the changing world of amateur boxing, in which investment bankers spar with ex-convicts and everyone dreads the fatal blow to the head. With the Supreme Team, he goes to the tournament, the outcome of which, it seems, is rigged - like so much in boxing life today. Robert Anasi tells his story t as a journalist on assignment but as a man in the midst of one of the great adventures of his life. Beautifully written, The Gloves has the feel of a contemporary classic.
Robert Anasi boxed in the Golden Gloves tournament in 2000 and 2001. The Village Voice has touted him as a 'Writer on the Verge' and he has written articles and reviews for the New York Times, Maxim and the American Book Review. He lives in the warehouse district of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.