Zab Judah stole the show at Sunday afternoon’s 10th NY State Boxing Hall of Fame (NYSBHOF) induction dinner, arguably.
The gala, sponsored by Ring 8, set a record with 500 attendees honoring the 22-member Class of 2023, at Russo’s On The Bay in Howard Beach, New York.
“Thanks for showing up today everyone,” said NYSBHOF President Bob Duffy to open the festivities. “This is our largest crowd ever with 500 people. There’s a lot of love with this year’s class.”
“The work Bob Duffy does is amazing,” New York State Boxing Hall of Fame Nominating Committee Jack Hirsch said. “On behalf of the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, congratulations to all the honorees. Whether or not you realize it, you are bonded for life. It’s your afternoon.”
NHSBHOF inductees in attendance included world champion boxers Michael Bentt, Vito Antuofermo, Junior Jones, and Iran Barkley, as well as retired boxers Monte Barrett, Mitch Green and Tommy Rainone, along with referee Randy Neumann and veteran head trainer Orlando Cuellar.
Judah drew gasps of delight when he dropped to one knee and proposed to his galpal.
She said yes.
Here are quotes from NY State Boxing Hall of Fame inductees, as compiled by ace publicist Boston Bobby Trieger:
Zab Judah: “This is a big night for me. In 1993, I won my first (NY) Golden Gloves at 15 years old. The year before, my father took me and my brothers to the Golden Gloves. I told my father that I’d win this because these guys can’t beat me. I always had confidence to be great and I worked hard.
”My father is a fighter. He couldn’t attend today because he’s at training camp with Devin Haney for his big fight. I had 115 amateur fights, losing only five, and turned pro in 1996. I went from the Kid Gloves to the 1996 Olympics.
“I had a full, great career, winning the world title six times. You have to have will, drive, and dedication to do that. People have come from all over today. I want to thank my family.”
Robin Taylor: “Thank you Bob Duffy and Ring 8. I’m truly humbled to be acknowledged for something I love to do. My father introduced me to boxing when I was 12 and I quickly fell in love with the sport. I remember comparing my scoring with the judges on television.
“I was encouraged by friends to pursue my dream. In 2000, I receive my license from the New York State Athletic Commission. I’ve judged more than 680 fights, including 131 championship fights. Today, I’m getting my championship belt, and I’ll defend it with my dedication to the sport, I’m truly living my dream and I’m proud to be a part of the boxing community.
CONGRATS TO BOB MLADNICH FOR INDUCTION INTO NY STATE BOXING HALL OF FAME
Bob Mladinich: “I got involved in boxing in the late seventies. It was a good time to get into boxing because ‘Rocky’ won the Movie of the Year and the United States had five Olympic gold medalists. I fell in love with the sport.
“There are no more accommodating, coachable, and down to earth people than boxers. Boxers are the most approachable athletes. I want to thank everyone for coming today, especially my 100-year-old mother, a U.S. Navy retiree, who made the trip.”
Dmitriy Salita: “Many of my friends are here today. I’m so grateful they came to support me today. I almost feel like I’m in the ring. Now, in the boxing business, now that I’m a promoter, sometimes they profile me.
”There weren’t people at the gym from my background and with my complexion, but I had Jimmy O in my corner. This is one of the most enjoyable moments of my life. Thank you all.”
More Quotes From NY State Boxing Hall of Fame Induction
Kevin Pompey: “I used to get up every day at 4:30 a.m. to run and train, because that’s what it took. It (training) was hard at times, but I loved it, and had fun boxing. I want to thank everybody here at the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame induction”
Dr. Barry Jordan: “Boxing is special. I’ve met some great people in boxing. I had a decent education, but I don’t know where I’d be without boxing. Boxing played a big role in my life. I spent 20 years working in the commission, 40 in boxing. Jose Torres was my godfather. He trusted me at the age of 32 to run the entire boxing commission protecting boxers’ health and safety. I was younger than some of the boxers. Boxing has been so good to me. It afforded me so many opportunities for a kid from Southside Queens.”
Tony Paige: “I’d like to thank the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame and Bob Duffy. I’m honored by this occasion. I knew boxing and I were going to have a long relationship. Boxing is a family. It’s not just about the boxers; there are ring announcers, doctors and so many others. That’s why I love this sport so much. I spent 19 years at WFAN and knew I made it in boxing when I became present of the BWAA (Boxing Writers Association of America). I’m honored.”
Dave Diamante: “People who know me, know I’ve traveled around the world extensively for three decades. Right here, right now, there’s no other place I’d rather be than here. I had to move to California to get clean and sober.
”I’ve been clean for 30 years and nothing I’ve done would have happened without sobriety. I boxed a little but learned that my voice was better than my left hook. I’ve dedicated my life to boxing.
“I started announcing at the Metros and Golden Gloves. I didn’t make any money, maybe they threw me $10 for gas once in a while. I never thought I’d be a ring announcer because of my unconventional look, but who would believe it would be my calling card. I’ve announced big fights at some of the biggest venues in the world. It all started here in New York City at a small show.”
Bob Caico: “First, thanks to Ring 8 and Bob Duffy. We are brothers with us because I’m still doing work for Ring 44 (Buffalo). I’m proud to up here at the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame induction”