Bridgeton to Honor Hometown Boxing Great Richie Kates

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BRIDGETON, NJ — This outstanding news for Cumberland County residents just came in from Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly's office. 

After producing our award-winning documentary on Vineland resident Richie Kates, who grew up in Bridgeton, SNJ Today is proud to share the following information ...


He came back to Bridgeton and he impacted the lives of area youth through his work in the Police Athletic League and before that, working in the public schools but the journey back to Bridgeton for Richie Kates, Sr., was a long one with many stops along the way.

At each of those stops, Richie Kates had the hopes and good wishes — and even a few prayers — of Bridgetonians with him as he fought his way up through the welterweight ranks and then the light heavyweight division. 

The pro-boxing journey started for Kates in late 1969 in Baltimore beating a fighter named Bobby Haynes and it ended in the autumn of 1983 with a 10-round split decision win over Jerry Martin in Atlantic City.

But in between, Kates traveled far at the top of his sport.

In the years since his boxing career ended, Ritchie made it a point to work with kids that came up the same way he did.

The pinnacle of his career came in the mid-1970s winning the North American Light Heavyweight title from Jimmy Dupree in Philadelphia in 1974 and fighting twice for the WBA World Light Heavyweight title against Victor Galindez.

While Kates lost both times to Galindez, his first WBA World Light Heavyweight title bout in South Africa was controversial and many thought Kates should have been crowned champion. In the hearts and minds of Bridgetonians, he was a champion and always will be.

That’s why Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly wanted to rename Burt Street in Bridgeton City Park “Richie Kates Sr. Way” and with the passage of Resolution 17-10 in June, it became official.

For Kelly, it went beyond the title fights and well beyond a 43-win career; it is the fact that Richie Kates was always focused on helping area youth and providing the guidance and discipline that he had learned through a career in boxing.

“In the years since his boxing career ended, Richie made it a point to work with kids that came up the same way he did. Whether though his volunteer work with the Police Athletic League, his work as a security officer in the public schools, or through his congregation; he always had a word of encouragement for the kids he met. He represents the best in our community” Kelly said.

With honors that include the Bridgeton African American Union Association of South Jersey Community Service Award and induction into the Bridgeton All Sports Hall of Fame, it is fitting that Richie Kates has a place in Bridgeton bearing his name.

The dedication of “Richie Kates Sr., Way” will take place on Sunday, August 20th, at 3 p.m. in Bridgeton City Park at the Hall of Fame building.    

Related: Watch the SNJ Today Documentary Richie Kates: Uncommon Journey    

Read: The Story of Cumberland County's Champ - Richie Kates                                                                   

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