While most youngsters enjoy summers of leisure, members of the Red Stick Boxing Club will be competing in regional and national tournaments over the next couple of months.
The Red Stick boxers are trained by Zachary resident Tafari Beard, who also happens to be a full-time detective with the Baton Rouge Police Department’s Financial Crimes unit. Three of Red Stick’s boxers won state Junior Olympic matches May 4-6 in Shreveport and will advance to the Junior Olympic regionals Saturday in Huntsville, Alabama. If they win there, they advance to the national tournament in Dallas, scheduled for June 27-July 2.
The three boxers are Tavorian Anderson, in the 11-12-year-old group and 85 pound weight class; Shannon Helaire Jr., in the 13-14 age group and 101-pound class; and Treyvean Beard, 13-14 age group and 110-pound class.
Michael Anderson, because of his age group, advances straight to the Dallas event and will compete in the 70-pound division for 9-10-year-olds. Two others, Tyrone Wilson Jr. in the 9-10-year-old 100-pound division and Derek Lazard, 9-10-year-old 85-pound division, also advance to the Dallas finals.
“We advanced three boxers in their weight classes to the regionals, and three others will go straight to Dallas,” said Beard, who retired from professional boxing in 2007 and became a coach. “Between sparring sessions and matches, we have a busy summer.”
Beard trains eight youngsters at BREC’s North 14th Street boxing facility in Baton Rouge. Last year, Tavorian Anderson won the gold medal in the 80-pound division for 9-10-year olds at the Junior Olympic national tournament when it was held in Charleston, West Virginia. He’s stepping up in age group this year.
“He’s looking forward to defending his title,” Beard said.
Treyvean Beard earned a silver medal, and Tafari Beard Jr., a fifth-grader at Copper Mill Elementary, was awarded bronze a year ago. He didn’t make it to the regional tournament this year.
Beard said his fighters also are scheduled to compete in a National Title Tournament in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on June 8-11, another National Title tournament June 25-26 in Houston, the “Battle in the Big D” in Dallas on July 15-17, the Junior Golden Gloves over July 20-23 in Reno, Nevada, and the Mayor’s Cup on July 29-31 in Washington, D.C.
“We’ve been doing really well,” Beard said. “I took them to Carencro last week, and we sparred with a huge boxing club, they have 20 or 30 fighters. We did well. We fought in Houston and New Orleans a couple of times and we competed in a Sparfest in Austin and did well. The more they get in the ring, the more training they get, the better they’ll be.”
Beard said he’s seen major improvement in his boxers after each tournament. He said they’re all quick learners, and when he tells them something in the gym, they’ll do it in the ring during fights.
“I’ve been concentrating on sparring lately because when you take kids to other gyms, they can spar 20 rounds, and they’ll get more chances in the ring for me to oversee them and coach them and work with them,” Beard said. “That’s the only way to grow. If they stay at a certain level, they’ll get stagnant. We have to guard against that.”
And the greater lessons are important, too.
“I want them to have fun and learn and enjoy traveling and seeing places,” Beard said. “They’re developing skills they can use for the rest of their lives.”
Because the Red Stick Club is self-funded, the travel, hotels, food, registration fees and equipment are a financial drain. They’ll do some fundraisers, like car washes, and Beard has set up a GoFundMe page atgofundme.com/rbhgsfm4 for tax deductible donations. Beard also can be reached at TafariBeard@yahoo.com.
Simoneaux gets third ace
Golfer Mark Simoneaux used a 6-iron from 178 yards out on the par 3 eighth hole at Copper Mill Golf Club in Zachary to record his third career ace on March 19. Witnesses were his wife, Gina Simoneaux, Troy Higginbotham and Dean Higginbotham.
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