Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame
Class of 2018 Announced
Cocoa Kid, John Harris, Bill Gore, Brian Clark, Angel Vazquez & Don Trella
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (August 13, 2018) – The Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame (CBHOF) has announced its six-member Class of 2018 to be inducted during the 14TH annual CBHOF Gala Induction Dinner on Saturday night, October 13, in the Uncas Ballroom at Mohegan Sun.
The new CBHOF inductees are boxers Cocoa Kid and Angel Vazquez, judge Don Trella, and trainers John Harris, Bill Gore and Brian Clark.
Once again,” CBHOF president John Laudati said, “the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame has elected a fantastic class of inductees. We are excited about the historical significance of inducing Cocoa Kid, the great fighter from the 1930’s. Our other honorees come from across the state. We hope to see a large contingent come out to congratulate a great local boxer, Angel Vasquez, and to celebrate the life of Willie Pep’s famous trainer, Bill Gore. This class also includes two other incredibly accomplished trainers, Bill Clark, of New Haven, and John Harris from Fairfield County. Don Trella, who is from my hometown of Waterbury, is one of the best boxing judges in recent history. It promises to be a great night for the entire boxing community: inductees, their families and friends, but, most importantly, our Connecticut boxing fans!”
Cocoa Kid (56-20-2, 48 KOs) came to prominence in 1933, when as an 18-year-old he registered a shocking upset of former world featherweight champion Louis “Kid” Kaplan, who was inducted into the CBHOF charter class in 2005. Cocoa Kid, who settled in New Haven, captured the New England welterweight and middleweight titles. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012 and passed way in 1966.
Considered one of the hardest hitting featherweights of his era, Vasquez won his first 21 pro fights and finished his pro career with a 22-2 (16 KOs) record. The Hartford native captured the WBO Latino, NABA and USBA featherweight titles. The highlight of his pro career came at home in Hartford, when he defeated previously unbeaten Berbardo Quinones (19-0-1) for the USBA crown.
Trella has been a boxing official for the past 21 years on the local, national and global scenes. He officiated more than 500 amateur bouts before he was awarded his first professional license in 2001 at Mohegan Sun, where he has been employed the past 17 years in various Human Resources positions, currently holding the title of Director of Employee and Guest Experience. A resident of Noank, Trella is highly regarded as one of boxing’s best judges. Last year, for example, he officiated three of the most high-profile fights in the world: Gennady Golovkin vs. Danny Jacobs, Vladimir Klitschko vs. Anthony Joshua (more than 90,000 fans in attendance at Wembley Stadium in London) and Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez.
Harris established himself as the preeminent trainer in Fairfield County, founding the Meadow Gardens Boxing Club in 1989, which was later renamed the John Harris Boxing Club, after he died in 2012 at the age of 85. A native of Cleveland, where he fought in the Golden Gloves, Harris lived most of his life in Norwalk. The highlight of his career was in 1993, when he trained four fighters who qualified for the National Golden Gloves Championships, including Travis Simms, a CBHOF Hall of Fame inductee and two-time World Boxing Association (WBA) junior middleweight world champion.
Gore is best known for training the great Willie Pep, who was also inducted into the CBHOF charter class, to a pair of world featherweight championships. Gore, however, also trained another all-time great, world light heavyweight champion Bob Foster. A native of Providence, Gore died in 1978 at the age of 84 and he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008.
Clark opened the Ring One gym in New Haven nearly 30 years ago to keep kids off the streets, producing many amateur champions, and even one light heavyweight world champion, Chad Dawson. Often bankrolling the gym, himself, Clark has become an icon in New Haven, where his gym is in one of the city’s roughest neighborhoods. Ring One is believed to be the oldest continuously operating boxing gym in Connecticut.