It was called the Tacoma Boy’s Club in Tacoma, Washington where trainer Joe Clough developed his first Olympian named “Sugar” Ray Seales.
It was 1972 in Munich, West Germany when the National Golden Gloves champion “Sugar” Ray Seales entered the ring in the first of five matches representing the USA boxing team. He was coached by Joe Clough with the Tacoma Boy’s Club.
Seales would go onto defeat boxers from East Germany, Ireland, Cuba, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria to win a Gold Medal representing the USA. He would be the first Olympian coached by Joe Clough with four more to follow.
Also on that same USA 1972 team was another member of the Tacoma Boy’s Club named Davey Armstrong who won the National AAU title. At the Olympics he defeated a boxer from Turkey but lost to one from Spain. He would return to the Olympics in Montreal in 1976 defeating boxers from the Soviet Union and Hungary before losing to a Cuban. In 1980 he signed with Emanuel Steward becoming a member of Manny Steward’s Kronk team.
“Davey Armstrong went to the 1972 Olympic games as a 16 year-old. After winning the Nationals I changed his birth paper to say he was 17. Then four years later at the 1976 Olympic Games they ask “how can you now be 20 years old?” This quote was from Joe Clough.
Leo Randolph won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1976 and would go onto win a WBA world super bantamweight title in 1980. Clough trained and managed him. He was the 1975 Golden Gloves and 1976 AAU champion. “Joe is like the father I never had. I first came in contact with him when I was 9. He would take us to his house after boxing practice, he took us to church. He even gave me paddles on my rear when I did bad things. Joe was my boxing coach throughout my career. He guided me through 2 national championships, Olympic Gold Medal and Junior Featherweight champion. Without Joe I wouldn’t have accomplished any of my boxing achievements. I owe it all to Joe Clough as a father and a coach,” said Randolph.
In 1977 and 1979 Johnny Bumphus won the National AAU title and made the 1980 USA Olympic team that was boycotted. He was also a member of the Tacoma Boy’s Club. In 1977 Rocky Lockridge won the National AAU title and would go onto win the WBA & IBF super featherweight world title in 1984.
Clough was AAU “Coach of the Year” 1972, 1976 and 1977. “Joe Clough was one of the best coaches ever,” said Brett Summers. Summers was a US Amateur champion in 1976 at 106 pounds and is from Marysville, WA. He was 28-3-1 as a professional.
Clough’s last job was technical director of pro boxing for the IBC. He went to the US in September for the Tacoma Boy’s Club Re-Union. Next month he will be going to Phuket, Thailand, to train pro boxer Gagan “The Pit Bull” Sharma.
In a recent email from Joe he said the following:
Well I moved to Thailand with my two kids in 2003 to become a school teacher at Sarasas Ektra School. I stopped coaching until 2009 when I sent my two kids back to America. They needed American schools. This last school year my last child (Tiger James) finished high school. In 2010 I was back in Cebu (Philippines) coaching the professionals. We had many local trips and a few overseas. Went to Mexico and Japan twice each. The next year 2011/2012 I became Technical Director for the World Series of Boxing for the Mumbai fighters in India (Including Paul Koon from Philadelphia). In 2013 I was back in Cebu coaching the professionals. Then in December of 2015 I flew to India to become Technical Director of the IBC Pro Boxing. I finished my contract in March of this year because the IBC was out of money. Now at 75 I just returned from a 6 week trip in America. We had a great Tacoma Boys Club Re-Union. What a day for all of us. I‘m now here in Manila, in the Philippines, but this month I’m flying to Thailand.
Joe Clough is one of the finest coaches the amateurs and professional has ever had. He never forgot his roots but went where he was more appreciated and needed in such countries as the Philippines, Thailand and India.