By Greg Gulas
The 25th Annual K.O. Drugs High School Boxing Tourney will conclude tonight with 26 championship fights on tap at St. Lucy’s Palermo Banquet Center in Campbell.
Of the 26 title bouts, 11 upperclass, 14 underclass and a girl’s division champion will be crowned.
“Reaching the final night has been the goal of every boxer since the tournament began back on April 9 and all of the action has been nothing short of amazing. Like the previous three weeks, expect plenty of hard-hitting action in all three divisions with plenty of fireworks coming from the heavyweight matchups,” founder Chuck Nelson said.
There are four matchups of undefeated fighters in each division with Kayla Burnside of Struthers going up against Mikayla Bloodsaw of Keystone for the girls cruiserweight belt.
In key upperclass pairings featuring fighters with unblemished two-win marks, Conner Hoelzel of Canfield looks to become a two-time champion when he takes on Tyler Karabin of Hubbard in a heavyweight clash while Anthony Ross, also of Canfield and David Blue of East Palestine will meet for the junior welterweight belt.
Columbiana’s Craig Smith will take on Dillon Palmer of Niles for the welterweight crown with Edwin Figueroa of Poland set to go up against Joe Allen (1-0) of Life Skills for the super welterweight belt.
Two other upperclass bouts are expected to yield plenty of action. The super heavyweight clash between school mates David Stewart (230 pounds) and Mike Shaffer (250 pounds) of Struthers will test their mettle, while a rematch from opening night action between Boardman’s Troy Sigurani (2-0) and Evan Amos (2-1) of Lowellville, won by Sigurani by unanimous decision, will yield a middleweight champion.
The underclass division has showcased some exceptional talent the past three weeks with 17 of the 28 title contenders sporting unblemished marks.
Of note is the heavyweight scrap between Nick Lardas (201 pounds) of Niles and Christian Shedosky (200 pounds) of South Range and the super heavyweight scrap between J.R. Guzaski (245 pounds), also of South Range and Keith Jenkins (240 pounds) of Campbell Memorial.
Also expected to yield plenty of bell-to-bell action will be the lightweight pairing of Jake Bunch of Reynolds and John Prebonick of Champion, both with unblemished two-win marks and Jared Vanasdale of Boardman and Tyler Wyant of Columbiana (1-0) as they go after the super featherweight belt.
The night’s festivities will also include the presentation of the “Most Promising Boxer” award in all three divisions.
Tickets — $9 for students and $10 for adults — will be available at the door.
Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first bout hitting the bell at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call Nelson at 330-423-2203.