By Greg Gulas
YOUNGSTOWN — As he helps middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik prepare for his December 19 bout with Miguel Espino at YSU’s Beeghly Center, trainer Jack Loew will take time out of his busy schedule to return to the Mahoning Valley Wednesday to play host to his 21st Annual Thanksgiving Feast at the Saxon Club.
Currently in Las Vegas with Pavlik, Loew’s commitment to keep amateur boxing alive in the area takes shape in the form of a 14-bout card that will feature the four Salinas brothers; Popo, Juan, Julian and Pedro from his Southside Boxing Club.
“The Thanksgiving Feast has always been one of my better shows because there are a lot of people who return home for the Thanksgiving Holiday, who want to go out Wednesday night and for that very reason we have been the beneficiary of some excellent crowds over the years,” he said.
This will be Juan’s [Salinas] first Open Division fight. He will fight Josh Krosen in the main feature while brother Popo will meet Matt Conroy in the co-feature.
“I will be shocked if both boxers aren’t in the 2012 Olympic Trials; they’re that good,” Loew said. “The other two brothers, Julian and Pedro feel like they can follow in their brothers’ footsteps so you can see that we have something very special when all of the Salinas brothers are fighting.”
Juan, ranked No. 2 in the country as a Junior Olympian, will fight in a 170 lb. bout. Krosen won the 2008 Cleveland Golden Gloves and then advanced to the Nationals.
Popo, ranked No. 3 in the United States in the Olympic Division, meets Conroy, a Pittsburgh native in a 112-pound match.
The event is the kick-off of a big month for Loew and is one of the last club shows on the circuit.
Beginning in January, the Cleveland Golden Gloves, the National Silver Gloves (Lenexa, Kan.), the National Jr. Olympics (Marquette, Mich.) and the U.S. Championships (Colorado Springs, Col.) for fighters ages 17 and up will become the order of the day.
In 71-pound. action, Pedro Salinas will meet LaQuan Porter of Akron, while in a 100-pound bout, brother Julian will take on Lorain’s Isaiah Rosario.
Cleveland’s Anthony Stafford will meet Akron’s Vince Tully in a 119-pound battle while in a 128-pound bout, Richie Chacon, another from Loew’s Southside boxing stable, will battle it out with Brian Wiley of Akron.
In a 130-pound bout, Alex Smith of Youngstown will meet Roy Jones of Akron while two Cleveland-natives, Tony Davis and Yuri Gregory, square off in a 135-pound scrap.
There are two 141-pound battles; the first pitting Youngtown natives Julius Thomas (Burnside A.C.) and Lucien Clinkscale (Downtown A.C.). The other has Cleveland’s Kevin Walker squaring off against Angel Figueroa of Lorain.
Cody Lucky of the Southside Boxing Club will then meet Jose Torrez (Lorain) in the first of three 150-pound scraps.
The other two will find Lucky’s stablemate, Charlie Fagan going up against another Youngstown product, Shannon Kelly of the Downtown A.C. with Matt Cardona (Youngstown’s Calderon A.C.) taking on Nate Ripley of Cleveland in the last bout of that weight class.
“My gym is crowded right now but that is a good problem,” Loew said. “I’m trying to keep amateur boxing alive in the area and felt that it was very important to match several locals against each other.
“With four all-local bouts, it should be interesting viewing.”
Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first bout at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for general admission and $25 for ringside.
For details, call (330)-501-5713.