By Keith Idec
Buddy McGirt has been hired to train former WBO junior welterweight champion Kendall Holt, undefeated junior middleweight prospect Glen Tapia and promising junior welterweight prospect Jose Peralta.
McGirt, an accomplished trainer who won world titles at 140 and 147 pounds, was brought aboard by manager Pat Lynch, with whom McGirt enjoyed considerable success while training late legend Arturo Gatti, and former head trainer Mike Skowronski, who will remain an assistant trainer to Holt, Tapia and Peralta. After 10 years in Vero Beach, Fla., McGirt has relocated to his native Brentwood, N.Y., on Long Island, where he’s helping tend to his ailing mother.
Lynch is a co-manager of Tapia and Peralta, both just 21. Holt, 30, is managed by Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, who co-manages New York-based junior middleweight prospect Steven Martinez (10-0, 8 KOs) with Lynch.
McGirt is training the three fighters at the Passaic (N.J.) PAL boxing gym. Tapia (10-0, 5 KOs) and Peralta (6-1, 4 KOs) live in Passaic. Holt (27-4, 15 KOs) is a native of nearby Paterson, N.J.
“It’s a great feeling to be back home,” said McGirt, who did his most noteworthy work as a trainer with Gatti, Antonio Tarver and the late Vernon Forrest. “Working with guys with the talent that these guys have is even better.
“I’ve been blessed. I thank God I’ve got three guys that are future champions. It’s just a matter of time. I thank Mike, I thank Pat Lynch, I thank Kendall, Brandon Jacobs and everybody for really giving me this opportunity.”
Skowronski has trained Tapia throughout his 2½-year pro career, has worked with Peralta for most of his three-year career and has helped Holt re-establish himself as one of boxing’s best 140-pound fighters following a surprising loss to South Africa’s Kaizer Mabuza in February 2010.
With a newborn daughter, however, Skowronski couldn’t pass up a travel-heavy sales director position with Napco Security, an Amityville, N.Y.-based company. Skowronski nearly turned down the position because he didn’t want to leave his fighters without a full-time trainer he could count on, but his close relationship with McGirt eased his mind.
Skowronski trained alongside McGirt at Buffano’s Gym in Jersey City in 1986, when Skowronski was an amateur and McGirt was an established pro, on his way to becoming the IBF junior welterweight champion. Skowronski, Gatti’s close friend for two decades, later served as McGirt’s assistant when Gatti rejuvenated his career beginning with a January 2002 stoppage of Terron Millett in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
While McGirt will train Holt, Tapia and Peralta daily, Skowronski will work with them on weekends and will work their corners alongside McGirt on fight night.
Tapia, who’s promoted by Top Rank, will return to the ring Sept. 16 in South Bend, Ind. Holt, who’s promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, has a bigger fight scheduled for Oct. 15 in Los Angeles, where he’ll face Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia (21-0, 14 KOs) in a 12-rounder on the televised portion of the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson pay-per-view undercard.
Peralta, who’s promoted by Main Events, is expected to fight again sometime early in the fall.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.