Father, I’m excited to make Golden Gloves debuts

LOWELL — It’s been said the family that stays together plays together, however, Freddie and Joseph Soberon are fighting that age-old adage, adding a healthy dose of uppercuts and haymakers into the equation.

The father and son team will be among the many boxers stepping into the ring at the 76th Lowell Golden Gloves. Sponsored by Lowell Sun Charities, the boxing extravaganza kicks off its nine-week residency at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Thursday at 7:30 pm

A Golden Gloves veteran, Freddie Soberon plans to come out swinging opening night, as he squares off with Timothy Higgins in a 156-pound novice men’s match. His son di lui is set to make his ring debut the following week in the 147-pound bracket on Jan. 19.

Together they’re ready to make Golden Gloves history.

“We’re ready to go, ready to rock and feeling good,” said Freddie Soberon, 40. “Everything is going great. This is the last year they’re going to let me do this, so I’m pretty excited about it, especially because I’ve got my son with me. It’s his first year for him, and my last for him.”

According to New England Golden Gloves Executive Director Bob Russo, the Soberons are the first father/son duo to fight in the same tournament, something which only seemed possible after organizers opened the age range of competitors from 18-40.

“I’ve heard of brother vs. brother, cousin vs. cousin, but never heard of a father and son fighting,” said Joseph Soberon, 19. “So this is a first. My dad has been very inspirational. It was his last year, and my first year, so the pressure was on. We just want to show the city what we’re about.”

A 5-foot-6, 156-pound orthodox righty, Freddie Soberon originally made his amateur boxing debut at 17, before embarking on a self-imposed 23-year-long hiatus, to focus on family.

“I’ve always loved boxing,” he said. “It was something that stuck with me, but then I had my kids young, and I had to take care of my responsibilities, pay rent, all the stuff grownups have to do at a young age.”

A carpet and flooring subcontractor, he started getting serious about boxing again at the age of 35.

“Life was a little more comfortable and easier going for me,” he recalled. “My kids got bigger. So, I got to focus on me a little bit, and started to hit the gym.”

He’s been training with his son at West End Gym in Lowell ever since, partially to keep the youngster in shape and off the streets. It’s been a win-win situation in that regard.

“I originally started this in order for my son to lose weight and stay out of trouble,” said Freddie Soberon. “He lost 100 pounds but he didn’t get into boxing until this year. He really started to get comfortable with it. He’s already accomplished so much, losing so much weight. Im super proud of him.”

For Joseph, the squared circle was the perfect escape. The 5-foot-6, 156-pound righty is now channeling his rambunctious nature into a more positive outlet.

“I first got involved in boxing at the end of 2017,” he said. “I was getting into a lot of trouble as a teenager and hopped into the ring just to get out of the whole scene. My dad was the one who really pushed me. It’s hard to explain, but when you find your passion, it was something I just loved.”

And when it comes to boxing, there’s no place better to make both your debut and swan song then in your own backyard.

“I’ve had four fights and they’ve all been in the Lowell Auditorium,” said Freddie Soberon. “I love fighting there. It feels comfortable. I’m at home. My family and friends come to support me. I’m representing the gym from this town. It just feels big time fighting in that arena.”

Both Soberons have been put through the paces at West End Gym in recent weeks, gearing up for fight night.

“It’s been great,” the younger Soberon said. “We shoot together a lot. We both push each other to our limits. You just can’t get that with a trainer.”

The elder Soberon has been impressed with his son’s commitment and progress with the sweet science.

“I’ve seen crazy improvement in just the past three months since we’ve started sparring,” Freddie Soberon said. “He’s improved 200%. He’s looking like a good little amateur.”

Although disappointed that they won’t be sharing the same card opening night, at least initially, the pair remain upbeat in their approach.

“I’m up Thursday,” Freddie Soberon said. “Joseph is kind of upset, he wanted to be there as well, but I told him it’s just the luck of the draw. There’s nothing you can do about that, but it’s all right. It is what it is.”

“I’m just really excited,” Joseph Soberon said. “I’m happy to be here. I’ve just got to thank God, my father and everybody for supporting me. I’m not fighting this Thursday, but hopefully I can give you all a show next Thursday.”

One thing is for sure, the family bond the Soberons share is unbreakable.

“It’s not just about the tournament anymore,” said Freddie Soberon. “It’s about being there by my son’s side. It’s something we can bond together over, and just a totally different father/son experience than anybody else has. Its unique in that way, and pretty special.”

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