Matchmaker Gregg Augustine is hoping Sunday's card will bring boxing back to yesteryear.
By SAL MARINO
NILES -- The Mahoning Valley has produced a great number of boxing standouts.
Among the area luminaries were Tony Zill, a top-ranked lightweight in the 1920s; Danny Farrar, an AAU champion in the 1930s; Joey "Red" D'Amato and Ted Fittipaldo, who won AAU championships in the 1940s; and Jimmy Jones.
And there were many more, too, like Tony Janiro, Lenny "Boom Boom" Mancini, George "Sonny" Horne, Tommy Bell and Jack Trammel.
These top names of yesteryear have been followed by a host of contemporary stars, who will be on display Sunday at the Expo Center.
Like past era: "We hope this boxing show on Sunday, at the Expo Center, will bring boxing back again to the yesteryear", said matchmaker Gregg Augustine, who has lined up a card featuring many current Valley boxers. "We have a great lineup. If you want action, we are going to offer it to the public with a seven-bout card.
"We are going to pay a tribute to Joseph 'Blackie' Gennaro that day also," added Augustine.
"Gennaro, who recently passed away, was a person who taught me a lot about the fight game. He was the Ohio boxing commissioner and later the president of the IBC."
The price of admission is $30 ringside, $20 general admission and if you have a stub from the Scrapper game that day or Saturday, you can get in for $10.
The card: James McClendon (2-1) of Youngstown will fight a four-rounder against Paul Neveles of Akron.
Warren's ET Whittaker (19-4) will fight a six-rounder with Kevin Vining (10-6), who is from Monroe, Mich. Whittaker is hoping for a good showing, which could lead to a title shot down the road.
Marc Norge (6-6) of New Castle, who trains at Earl Charity's gym, will meet Cedric Johnson (3-2) of Youngstown in a four-round bout.
Sam Hawkins (1-0) of Toledo will face Micah Acord (0-1) of Huntington, W. Va., in another four-rounder.
A six-round bout features Grelton, Ohio native Charlie Howe (10-3), a middleweight, against Bryan Thatcher (5-3) of Huntington, W. Va.
The co-main events are eight-round bouts. The first will feature Lou Bizzaro Jr. (13-1) of Erie against James Merriweather (5-4).
The second will match John "Macho Midget" Bailey (17-7-2) against John Scalzi (10-10), who lost to Hector Camacho Jr.
Bailey drew in his last fight which was for the IBC Americas title.
Koval billed: There will be a tough-man contest between three-time KO Drugs champion Chris Koval of Austintown and Lee Nickleson of Niles. Koval is 20-0 in the KO Drugs competition and will become an amateur boxer after this bout.
Kelly Pavlik, a fast-rising professional from Youngstown, will sign autographs at the fights.
The card is sponsored by Cummins Productions, Double G Productions, in conjunction with Superior Beverage, The Radio Center, West Side Bakery, Antone's, Jolly Joe's, TR Centre and Scottish Inns.
For more information, call Mike Cefalde at (330) 792-6976.