Class of 2014
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This is hardly the first brush with fame for Paul Cichon.
A native of Holyoke, Mass., now living in East Hartford, Cichon made such an impact as the director of the Manchester Police Athletic League boxing program that he would eventually be inducted into the Manchester Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Cichon was also inducted into the New England Golden Gloves Hall of Fame in 2000. He was honored by the CBHOF in 2009 with the Contribution to Boxing Award.
Trainer of 16 national amateur champions, including Miguel Ayala, Matt Remillard, and Mykquan Williams, Cichon got hooked on the game while growing up in the projects in Holyoke, Mass. The Western Massacusetts Golden Gloves Championships were held in Holyoke ever year back then, and Cichon was at many in some capacity.
Cichon is currently the boxing director of the Manchester Ring of Champions Society.
The late William Hutt was so popular in boxing circles worldwide that his wife Linda once suggested that he hang a large placard in front of their Farmington home that read “Boxing Bed and Breakfast.” That’s because travelers from Australia to Atlantic City seemed to be guests at the Hutt home when traveling through Connecticut. Hutt was considered one of the sport’s great ambassadors.
In addition to being a first-rate boxing judge, Hutt was a historian of the game, and one of its humanitarians. Hutt didn’t just care about fighters when they were in the ring. He was concerned about their welfare when out of it.
Hutt’s first world title fight outside of the country was in Bangkok, Thailand in 1995. Hutt also spent a lot of his free time helping to promote the sport he loved dearly. He was active in the Connecticut amateur scene. He judged professional fights all over the world including bouts featuring Larry Holmes, Prince Naseem Hamed, Julio Cesar Chavez, Bernard Hopkins, and a pair of CBHOF past inductees, Micky Ward and Vinny Paz.
The CBHOF official’s award is named after Hutt, who died in 2001 at the age of 49.
PETER MANFREDO JR.
He would become known as the “Pride of Providence,” but Peter Manfredo Jr. quickly became a household name in Connecticut by having seven of his first 13 professional bouts in the Nutmeg State, including two at the Mohegan Sun Casino.
Manfredo won all of those bouts en route to beginning his career with a 21-0 record, which included a knockout of Frankie Randall, a former world champion who had beaten a legend in Julio Cesar Chavez.
Manfredo also starred in the inaugural season of NBC’s reality television show “The Contender.” The two-time world title challenger grew up in Providence, but now resides in the Eastern Connecticut town of Dayville. Eleven of his 47 professional fights were held in Connecticut.
A great referee is one who will give fighters a little rope, but not let them hang themselves.
New Haven’s Michael Ortega showed in a bout at the Foxwoods Resorts Casino in May of 2005 that he was destined for greatness. In an NABA super middleweight title fight, Charles Brewer knocked down Antwun Echols three times in the second round. Ortega let the fight continue. Echols came back to score a third-round technical knockout in an action-packed fight that needed quality refereeing, and got it.
Ortega has gone on to referee several world title bouts involving well-known fighters such as Zab Judah, Paulie Malignaggi, Chad Dawson, Glenn Johnson, Jermain Taylor and Carl Froch.
Of course, boxing is in Ortega’s genes. His father Gaspar was a top-shelf professional fighter who was inducted into the CBHOF in 2006. Gaspar and Michael Ortega are the second father-son combination to be inducted into the CBHOF.
An ardent supporter of the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame since it was established in 2005, Daryl Peoples is a respected boxing figure not only in North America, but several other continents. He has earned this respect in his capacity as president of the International Boxing Federation.
Among the prestigious honors Peoples has received was the Kilimanjaro Distinguished Award” for leading the IBF and the USBA to lofty heights. Onsemo Alfred McBride Ngowi, the president of IBF Africa, presented the award to Peoples. In 2013, Peoples received an award for his accomplishments at an All-Star Boxing Legends Gala in New Jersey.
Peoples has been an IBF official since 1995. In 2010, he became only the fourth IBF president and chief executive officer, and is considered by many to be the finest to ever hold the position.
The first time he fought in Connecticut, John Ruiz gave a glimpse of the future. In his third pro fight, he knocked out Barry Kirton in the second round at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in November of 1992.
In his third and final bout at Foxwoods, Ruiz fought to a draw with Evander Holyfield in their third matchup of 2001. That enabled Ruiz to retain his WBA world heavyweight title. Earlier that year, Ruiz, who hails from Chelsea, Mass., became the first Latino heavyweight champion by winning a unanimous decision over Holyfield, who he fought three times.
Ruiz finished his career with a record of 44-9-1, which included 30 knockouts. In addition to Holyfield, Ruiz fought some tough customers in James Toney, Roy Jones Jr., Andrew Golota, Kirk Johnson, and Jimmy Thunder. Ruiz is considered the second best heavyweight to ever come out of New England, only behind the legendary Rocky Marciano.