By Greg Gulas
When the K.O. Drugs H.S. Boxing Tournament returns in May 2012, they will kick off their silver anniversary season by inducting five new members into their hall of fame.
The new members will include heavyweight Chris Koval of Austintown Fitch; light welterweight Jake Giuriceo of Campbell Memorial and middleweight Ryan Lawrence of Niles.
Also, the first female members will be enshrined: Stephanie Sahli of Struthers and Miranda Spottleson of Cardinal Mooney.
“Every five years we recognize the outstanding boxers from our tournament; boxers who not only stood out during their high school careers but individuals who have gone on to bigger and better things after their scholastic careers,” said K.O. Drugs tournament founder Chuck Nelson.
“This is an absolutely outstanding class; a group that has provided plenty of entertainment for our fans over the years,” Nelson added.
Koval finished as the all-time heavyweight wins leader with 11 (10 by TKO) before turning pro where has posted a 28-7 record (18 KOs) mark since 2003.
Giuriceo, a two-time K.O. Drugs champion, is flourishing professionally with an 11-0-1 (3 KOs) record. Lawrence was a three-time K.O. Drugs tournament champion with a 10-1 record.
Sahli, nicknamed “The Billion Dollar Baby” and Spottleson, nicknamed “Boom Boom,” were the female division pioneers who helped attract other girls to the tournament.
They went head-to-head other with each winning once. Both were 5-1 overall.
In 2007, the tourney’s 20th anniversary, the first five inductees were Ken Sigurani of Boardman, Craig Kikta of Austintown Fitch, Billy Lyell of Niles, E.T. Whitaker of Harding and announcer Bob Roth.
This year’s tournament concludes tonight with 23 championship fights at the ITAM Banquet Center, Meridian Road.
Tickets are $9 for students and $10 for adults. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first bout starting at 7.