Wednesday is championship fight night at old Liberty High School.
By BOB ROTH
LIBERTY -- Wednesdays in May, all five of them, have been and are marked for plenty of the best amateur boxing in the Mahoning Valley.
Chuck Nelson's 14th KO Drugs High School Boxing Tournament, with more than 150 athletes from 35 high schools entered, will conclude Wednesday with 26 championship bouts at the old Liberty High School gymnasium starting at 7 p.m.
Nelson, who originated the tournament in 1987 and has served as its director since then, said, "The fights this year have been better than a lot of other years with all of these kids coming to fight."
He also believes that many of the fights "are better than most pro bouts."
Feature: Headlining the finals will be an upper-division clash between undefeated heavyweights Chris Koval of Austintown Fitch and Josh Hansen of Warren JFK.
The pair of standout football players have 3-0 boxing records so far in this year's tourney.
Their collision will be a rematch from last year's championship showdown, when Koval defeated Hansen, who is hoping for a turnabout this time.
"I've waited a whole year to fight Koval," said Hansen, after winning his semifinal bout last week on a knockout.
However, Koval is just as determined to keep his crown.
"I'm the champ and I won't be denied," said Koval following his win by a decision last week.
So the stage is set, and instead of scheduling this bout at the end of the card, it will open the upper-class segment near the midway point of the program.
Matchmaker Pat Nelson, Chuck's son, wanted it this way because of the big following both fighters have.
Co-features: Two co-features also match undefeated fighters.
In an upper-class light-heavyweight bout, Greg Simcox of Poland and Rob Smaltz of Ursuline will tangle for honors, each coming in at 3-0.
And in an underclass super-middleweight match-up, Mike Marvin of Liberty will take on Robert Williamson of Sharon, both also 3-0.
A special highlight on the show will be the debut of female boxers in this year's tourney, with three championship bouts on the schedule.
Tickets are priced at $7 for students and $10 for adults, and will be available at the door.
For more information, call Pat Nelson at 330-746-2780.