By Eric Butler: Freedom Newspapers
When his son Vladimir took an interest in boxing, Clovis’ Teddy Draper did what any dad would do — in a Disney movie. The elder Draper strapped on the gloves and participated in the training process with his son.
A few months ago, the thought returning to the ring enter the mind of the 31-year-old former Junior Olympics boxer.
So, at the start of the Golden Gloves competition Friday at Roy Walker Community Center, Draper stepped into the squared circle competitively for the first time in 17 years.
“For my first time, it was something different than training,” said Draper, who lost to Las Cruces’ Siju Shabazz when he retired near the end of the third round of an exhibition bout. “I fought in the JO’s (Junior Olympics) a long time ago when I was in high school. My son’s into it and my nephew’s into it. They were coming to practice and I told them I’d come with them every day.
“I lost about 20 pounds and Chuck Haas (local Golden Gloves organizer) said if you can make 178 (weight division), you should give it a shot,” Draper added. “So I did it.”
In Shabazz, Draper was literally facing a tall task as his Las Cruces opponent had several inches on him. The New Mexico State junior won a Golden Gloves state title last year and comes from an athletic family. One of his older brothers, Shukree, just finished playing football at New Mexico State and was invited to the recent NFL combine for prospective draft picks.
While Draper’s punches flicked off Shabazz without harm, Shabazz’ blows started having great effect. At the beginning of the second round, Draper started to bleed from his nose.
Vladimir Draper, 14, who will fight on Saturday, said the blood on his father’s face didn’t bother him too much.
“He bleeds easy, just like me,” Vladimir Draper said.