By Greg Gulas
The 25th annual K.O. Drugs High School Boxing Tournament will begin Monday with 30 bouts on tap at the St. Lucy Palermo Banquet Center in Campbell.
Over 100 athletes signed up for the event from five counties, representing 40 schools.
“We’re absolutely pleased with the turnout and enthusiasm as we head into this year’s milestone event,” said tournament founder Chuck Nelson.
“We’re also hoping that this year’s action will be one of the more memorable in recent years.
“With 30 fights on tap for the first week, there are several school rivalries that will take center stage so you can expect some heated action right from the outset,” Nelson said.
On Monday there will be 16 underclass (ninth and 10th graders) and 14 upperclass (11th and 12th graders) bouts. Eight boxers are from Niles, while Campbell Memorial is represented by six entrants and Howland by five.
In underclass action, expect a typical Campbell Memorial-Struthers rivalry when John K. Rojas of Campbell meets Demitryus Martinez of Struthers in a middleweight pairing. In super heavyweight action, Campbell’s Keith Jenkins takes on Mike Rogers of Struthers.
Also of note will be a heavyweight match between Cardinal Mooney’s Vito Penza and Nick Lardas of Niles, and a cruiserweight bout between Mooney’s Benjamin Roberts and Howland’s Ralph Robinson.
The upperclass division will feature Campbell’s Christian Kountz battling Hubbard’s Tyler Karabin in a heavyweight bout, while Boardman’s Troy Sigurani takes on Brookfield’s Ron Kirilla in a light heavyweight fight.
Two super middleweight clashes will pit Zach Miller of Howland against Brandon Grindle of Marlington, and Lakeview’s Randy Deweese against Dan Jenkins of Canfield.
Also of note, Neshannock’s Chris Pagley will represent Western Pennsylvania when he takes on Aaron Barnhart of Lakeview in an upperclass welterweight pairing, while Howland’s Robbie Rosenberger meets Boardman’s Jared Vanasdale in an underclass featherweight bout.
The tournament will continue April 16, with the semifinals on April 23 and the championships on April 30.