Augustama brothers a triple threat for success at National
Golden Gloves tournament
by Steve Vedder | The Grand Rapids Press
Tuesday May 06, 2008, 12:20 AM
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GRAND RAPIDS -- It's not unusual for the Augustamas to find themselves at serious odds
with each other. As brothers, Elie, Azea and Emmanuel Augustama accept the verbal
sparring, trash talk and competitiveness between the three as part of everyday life. But
whenever problems do arise between the natives of Haiti, they're swiftly solved the same
way. "We're guys, we fight at times," Elie said, "But with us, it's all about love." The brothers,
residents of Florida who are working toward becoming U.S. citizens, are competing in this
week's National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions at the DeVos Place. Elie, a
middleweight, and Emmanuel, a heavyweight, both won 4-1 opening round decisions
Monday while Azea, who will represent Haiti at this summer's Olympic games in Beijing,
fights tonight. All are making their first appearances at the national level, with the
25-year-old Emmanuel, who fights Hudsonville's Jordan Shimmell on Wednesday, actually
possessing less boxing experience than his two younger brothers. Azea, 23, has won two
junior national titles since joining Golden Gloves in 1999. Elie, 21, has fought in Golden
Gloves since 2002 with one junior national title. The brothers, who fight out of the
Hollywood PAL club near Miami, admit there is a definite rivalry between the three, but all
support each other inside the ring. From left, Azea and Emmanuel Augustama, representing
Florida, cheer for their brother Elie during his match Monday in the opening round of the
National Golden Gloves. All three brothers are competing this week. "At the end of the day,
we give each other pointers and show each other love," Azea said. "We're all close, we're
brothers. We'll fight each other and make up." Emmanuel actually got into boxing because
of his younger brothers. He watched Elie and Azea fight as teen-agers and decided he'd
give the sport a try. In the handful of years they've all been in the sport, they've tried to help
each other, including through backyard sparring sessions. All admit those sessions have
sometimes become heated, but that has only helped each become a better fighter. "It's a
typical family with a lot of boys in it," Emmanuel said. "Fights are going to happen. But I take
no sides. I try to stay neutral. When we were little, we were always fighting. We had a small
room and it was like, 'hey, Elie, give me my shoe' or, 'Azea, get me this.' And we're all
competitive. "But in the end, we know we're all brothers. We push each other, but we're
brothers." Azea said anything can set the brothers off, including a basketball game that first
includes trash talking, then turns physical. He said not all arguments turn into brotherly
confrontations, but some most definitely do. "It depends on what's going on with us," he
said. "Usually if it's Elie mad, we'll spar." Competitiveness aside, the brothers share another
common trait: winning. "We trash talk, but that only helps us do better," Elie said. "The most
important thing for all of us is winning. There's a rivalry between us, but it's just being
competitive. It helps us get better. We like competing with each other, whether it's
basketball or just running -- that's what helps get us to the next level." With Azea, the next
level is competing in the summer Olympics in China. He's the only boxer from Haiti to qualify
for the games. "It's a dream come true for me," he said. All three brothers think they have a
good shot at placing, if not winning, this week's nationals. "We're all going to try to win," Elie
said. "If we all win, that gets us a place in history. Hopefully by the grace of God, we'll all get
there."