By Rich Bockmann
The windowed facade of the Tiger Schulmann’s training center on Bell Boulevard in Bayside has a new award to display after Julio Arce won his boxing match at Madison Square Garden Friday night to take the 141-pound novice class title in the Golden Gloves tournament.
The 21-year old Arce, who teaches mixed-martial arts classes at the center, defeated boxer David Green of Brooklyn in a 5-0 decision. He lives in Fresh Meadows and grew up in Flushing.
“The game plan was just to press him. He didn’t have very good conditioning. I just wanted to stay in front and throw combos, then press more and more. By the end, he couldn’t stand or keep his hands up,” said Arce. As he advanced through the competition, Arce maintained he was strictly focused on each fight in front of him, but admitted that after the second round of his title match, he realized the ultimate victory was just within reach.
“Just two minutes left,” he told himself.
The shine off the golden gloves hanging from the chain around his neck Tuesday were matched by the smile on his face as Arce described the excitement of the weeks building up to the final fight, and the satisfaction of grabbing the victory in front of a large home crowd.
Tiger Schulmann’s has four schools in Queens, and at the Bayside location — which has been there for 15 years — there are currently about 500 students. Sensei Bryan Gotthoffer, who began training Arce when he was a teenager,ï»¿ said for weeks everyone at the center got swept up in the excitement of Arce’s progress, and that energy culminated in a huge showing at MSG.
“He’s too modest to say, but his students have always had a tremendous amount of respect for him,” said Gotthoffer. “People are ecstatic. Everyone feels like it’s their win.”
A common theme throughout the tournament was Arce’s superior conditioning, as he often wore his opponents out with his stamina. His training involved frequent 4-mile runs and intensive 30-minute cardio sessions where he had to complete explosive exercises in quick succession.
With the Golden Gloves victory, Arce adds to his three title belts, though his sensei points out that the young champion represents the one out of 100 who come through the school and really want to be a fighter.
“We’re a self-defense school, a martial arts school. Our students are learning the same thing he’s learning and applying them to their everyday lives,” said Gotthoffer.
Arce is planning to schedule two kickboxing fights in June, and already has his eye set on next year’s Golden Gloves tournament. When asked what he has planned for the future, Arce read off the natural progression a tournament champion, from novice division to open class to nationals to the Olympics.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.