The thrill and excitement of top-level amateur boxing training and competition goes virtual with a new partnership between USA Boxing and Tulsa-based tech company, Engine Room VR, creator of virtual reality boxing game, Golden Gloves VR, Mike McAtee, USA Boxing Executive Director, announced today.
The collaboration includes the creation of a virtual USA Boxing training facility and arena inside the Golden Gloves VR game, which mirrors the official complex at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. This immersive and progressive boxing experience allows athletes and gamers alike to hone their skills and build endurance on adjustable heavy, double-end, and speed bags with physical properties precisely calculated to mimic their real world counterparts.
Players can advance through the amateur and professional ranks as they compete for titles, facing increasingly difficult opponents, each with his or her own personality and fighting style. Former professional boxers and world titleholders, Micky Ward and Christy Martin, voice the Golden Gloves VR in-game ringside announcers. A two-player mode is in development, which will create a path for future e-Sports tournaments in conjunction with USA Boxing National events.
“Our USA Boxing coaches and athletes had the opportunity to demo Golden Gloves VR in December during the National Championships in Lubbock, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Our coaches see the potential for this as a training tool for their boxers and an avenue to expand the reach of our sport. We believe it will also be useful with our Parkinson’s Boxing program and our adaptive sports training,” says McAtee. “E-sports is a rapidly growing area with huge potential. We’re excited to explore this space and the possibilities it holds for the sport of amateur boxing.”
Designed for the Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset, Golden Gloves VR is endorsed by Golden Gloves of America, a world-renowned name in amateur boxing, and was developed in consultation with professional and amateur boxers and coaches to provide a realistic, immersive and progressive boxing experience where players can train and compete in a variety of virtual settings, everything from a fully equipped boxing gym to large arenas.
Golden Gloves VR is available for pre-release download from the Early Access section of the Oculus Store. The early release of the game is also available through Sidequest, a virtual reality content platform.A PC version of the game will be available soon on popular online gaming platform, Steam.
“Sales of the Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headsets have exploded in the last few years, reflecting the enormous growth in the virtual reality fitness and gaming industries,” says Aaron Sloan, USA Boxing certified coach and owner of Engine Room VR. “This partnership with USA Boxing is a tremendous opportunity to reach a whole new generation of boxing fans and grow our sport in so many ways.”
View the Golden Gloves VR Game Trailer Here
USA Boxing is the National Governing Body for Olympic-style boxing in the United States. USAB is a non-profit corporation and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. Responsible for training, competition and development for its sport, as well as nominating athletes to the U.S. Olympic, Youth Olympic, and Pan American Teams, USAB is also recognized by the International Boxing Federation (AIBA) as the national federation responsible for the governance of the sport of boxing in the United States. With over 40,000 members, including athletes, coaches, officials, physicians and administrators, USA Boxing sanctions all Olympic-style boxing competition in the United States.
National Golden Gloves began in 1923 when Chicago Tribune Sports Editor Arch Ward conceived the idea of a newspaper sponsored citywide amateur boxing tournament. Champions were awarded a miniature golden glove. Many great professional boxers have launched their early athletic careers participating as amateurs in Golden Gloves tournaments. Golden Gloves continues to play a major role in the selection of representatives for the U.S. team in the Olympic Games. Former National Golden Gloves champions include outstanding boxers like Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Oscar De La Hoya.
Engine Room VR is located in the Engine Room Boxing Gym, 316 E. 11th St., in Tulsa’s Gunboat Park. Since its launch in the fall of 2021, the company has recruited, hired and relocated to Tulsa four full time employees from the game development industry and has partnered with the University of Tulsa to provide paid internships for a number of TU students and graduates.
TheEngine Room Boxing Gym at 316 E. 11th Street is owned and operated by Aaron Sloan, a registered cardiac nurse, President of the Kansas-Oklahoma Golden Gloves franchise, and a USA Boxing-certified coach, judge and referee. The Engine Room offers competition and fitness training, as well as the Ready to Fight Parkinson’s Specific program. Developed by Coach Sloan in 2016, RTF is now the official therapy-boxing program of USA Boxing.