Wednesday night, with the first of 42 bouts beginning at 7 p.m., the 14th annual KO Drugs High School Boxing Tournament will start. Once again the site will be the old Liberty High gymnasium and it will be held every Wednesday night in May. With participants from more than 40 high schools in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Mercer Counties, there will be a combined 25 weight divisions in underclass and upperclass divisions. The underclass is for 9th and 10th graders and the upperclass is for 11th and 12th graders.
The bouts will be 45-second three-rounders with 18-ounce gloves and padded headgear. Through the years seven boxers from KO Drugs went on to become amateur champions and have professional careers.
Tickets, which can be purchased at the door are $5 for students and $10 for adults.
The first night of round robin action will have 42 fights, 24 in the underclass and 18 in the upperclass, with at least 16 champions from last year returning. Chuck Nelson and his son Pat have promoted the tournament since 1995. The pairings:
UNDERCLASS (9th-10th graders)
Bantamweights: Adam Johnson (Fitch) vs. Brandon Lucas (Howland); Matt Ramun (Poland) vs. Mike Harris (Howland); Carl Gruhlky (Poland) vs. Dave Kyser (Columbiana).
Featherweights: Gary Chaney (Girard) vs. Dan Ramun (Poland); Alonzo Hernandez (Girard) vs. Mike Sackela (Fitch).
Lightweights: Jim Gruhlky (Poland) vs. Myron Williams (Hubbard); Chris Zamudio (Poland) vs. Mark Drummond (Boardman).
Junior Lightweights: John Loew (Cardinal Mooney) vs. Ray Furbee (Champion); Jon Drennen (Liberty) vs. Joe Cox (Champion).
Welterweights: Frank Cassese (Cardinal Mooney) vs. Mario Tamburino (Western Reserve); Justin Hoffman (Poland) vs. Jake Buzzard (West Middlesex); Matt Robinson (Howland) vs. Larry Starr (Hubbard).
Junior Middleweights: Joe Boyles (Howland) vs. Mark Grdinich (Girard); Tim Carter (LaBrae) vs. Mike Chuirazzi (Niles).
Middleweights: Tyler Lehmann (Poland) vs. Nathan Rohrman (Mathews); Jim Berry (Cardinal Mooney) vs. Adam Grdinich (Girard; Robert Williams (Sharon) vs. Anthony Derose (South Range).
Super Middleweights: Mike Jones (Poland) vs. Anthony Horvath (Struthers); Dallas Bigley (Struthers) vs. John Tollas (Columbiana).
Light Middleweights: Jeremy Whitfield (Chaney) vs. Jamar Guildford (Wilson).
Cruiserweights: Billy Decola (Western Reserve) vs. Randy Reese (Western Reserve); Greg Doran (Girard) vs. Travis Acevedo (Howland).
Heavyweights: Kenny Gosnell (LaBrae) vs. Gabe Gouvas (Champion); Jed Hill (Struthers) vs. Josh Fetty (West Middlesex).
UPPERCLASS (11th-12th graders)
Featherweights: Justin Martino (Columbiana) vs. Steve Devellin (Fitch); Aaron Cesene (Hubbard) vs. Jerry Kendall (Reynolds).
Lightweights: Derick Sallaz (Fitch) vs. Josh Cilas (Reynolds); Lou Zamudio (Poland) vs. Frank Sackela (Fitch).
Super Lightweights: Joe Merolillo (Poland) vs. Robert Tsai (Maplewood); Ryan Williams (Liberty) vs. Justin Alexander (LaBrae).
Junior Middleweights: Mike Ramun (Poland) vs. Dan Burich (Struthers); Dave Rapone (Struthers) vs. P.J. Jajcinovic (Champion).
Middleweights: Floyd Ward (Wilson) vs. David Shine (Wilson); Dwayne Pompey (Wilson) vs. Dave Smallwood (Mathews).
Super Middleweights: Norman Macias (Struthers) vs. Andy Steiner (Cardinal Mooney); Jerrid Lujan (Struthers) vs. Ron Narog (Champion).
Light Heavyweights: Rob Smaltz (Ursuline) vs. Keith Thompson (Lakeview); Alex Summers (Trumbull County JVS) vs. Mike McCourt (Girard).
Heavyweights: John Mallory (Warren Harding) vs. Nick Roach (Girard); Justin Pierce (Lakeview) vs. Jake Weikart (Leetonia); Chris Koval (Fitch) vs. Steve Coley (Mineral Ridge); Josh Hanson (Warren JFK) vs. Pete Aston (LaBrae).