"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is
not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not
the triumph but the struggle. The
essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."
Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games.
Doug Fenske was born on December 16, 1948.
He began boxing at the Michigan Golden Gloves at sixteen years of age.
He won the Western Michigan Golden Gloves in 1968 at 156 pounds and was
named the boxer who most exemplifies the spirit and desire of the Golden
Gloves, also known as the Golden Glove Award.
Dougís entire boxing career exemplifies the spirit and desire not
only of the Golden Gloves, but of now dying amateurism.
The amateur ideal which was long revered in the Olympics was a pure
love of sport and competition without economic compensation.
Doug has always loved his sport and has never desired to make it a job.
After boxing for over ten years, Doug took a boxing
hiatus to pursue a landfill and recycling business and a degree in civil
engineering. His Fenske
Enterprises, Inc. eventually employed over 70 people.
However, the passion to compete always lingered within Doug.
At the age of 39, Doug wanted to box again.
He began training with Morey Bowman, who had trained Dougís father
Howard Fenske, who had fought Lou Nova. Bowman
informed Doug that the Michigan Golden Gloves refused to allow anyone over the
age of 38 to box in an amateur bout. Doug
took his fight to the Michigan courts, and received a temporary restraining
order preventing discrimination against him upon the basis of his age. Doug went on to win the Western Michigan Golden Gloves in
1989 at 178 pounds and again won the spirit and desire of the Golden Gloves
award, 21 years and 22 pounds after he won it the first time. He was the only man to win the Western Michigan Golden Glove
After moving to California, Doug again returned to court
in 1991 and received a preliminary injunction against the United States
Amateur Boxing Federation of America (USA/ABF).
The USA/ABF did not present any opposition papers and his request was
granted. It was prevented from
discriminating against Doug or treating him differently based on his age or
forcing him to compete in a division for people of a certain age.
From 1991 to 1998, Doug continued to box, winning the Los Angeles and
Southern California Golden Gloves, as well as being the state runner up at
both 178 and 201 pounds.
Subsequently, in the year 2000, the California Golden
Gloves again refused to register Doug Fenske to compete. A masterís division for boxers over 33 years of age was
created and an attempt was made to force Doug into that competition.
However, he was the only competitor.
Doug again went to court to request an injunction.
His attorney, David S. Silber, argued that the attempted age
discrimination violated both federal civil rights legislation (42 U.S.C.
section 1983) and the California Civil Code (Unruh Act, civil code section
51). Once again, no opposition
was filed and pursuant to the courtís order, Doug was allowed to compete
without regard to his age, now 51.
To those who feel amateur boxing is only for the young,
Doug is a nuisance, but to others, he is an inspiration. He is viewed with respect and admiration by most of the
boxers for his determination and dedication to the sport. Doug always comes in shape and always gives it his best
effort, win or lose. If you want
to see the oldest boxer in America, catch him next year, at age 52, at the Los
Angeles Golden Gloves.
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