The 25th annual K.O. Drugs High School Boxing Tournament gets under way tonight with 21 bouts on tap at St. Lucy’s Palermo Center, 404 Tenney Ave., Campbell.
The underclass division (9th and 10th graders) will feature 10 bouts while 11 matches are set in the upperclass (11th and 12th grades) division.
Second-round action will continue on May 20 with the semifinals set for June 3. All championships, including the female division, will be decided on June 10.
Sign-ups have yielded participants from 30 area schools with Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in Ohio, and Lawrence and Mercer counties in Pennsylvania represented.
Several former champions will return with hopes of either defending or winning another weight class championship during the tourney’s silver anniversary event.
“This friendly competition allows each participant to not only find out about themselves, but their fellow competitors,” said Chuck Nelson, tournament founder. “As far as I am concerned this tournament is a way to enhance your character, stressing conditioning and a pledge to remain substance-fee, not only during the tournament but beyond the month long competition.”
In underclass pairings, the Campbell will send four fighters to the bell with Memorial High’s Kobe Hayden facing Jose Minjarez of Reynolds in a flyweight scrap.
The other Red Devils are: Tyler Banks taking on Brandon Lamb of Jackson Milton in a featherweight match-up; Terrell Neeley, who will meet Steven May of Girard in heavyweight action; and Shane Samaniego, who will take on Ryan Stitt of New Castle Union in a lightweight pairing.
Colton Elser of LaBrae will take on homeschooled Addison Richards in a super lightweight match while super lightweight Austin Stevens of Austintown Fitch faces Jake Bunch of Reynolds.
Other underclass bouts include Daniel Dilley of Niles who will battle James “Beau” Bauer of New Wilmington in cruiserweight action.
At super heavyweight, Chance Rucker of Warren Harding is scheduled to meet Tyler Sayers of Lakeview.
Another super heavyweight battle pits Ethan Watson of Lakeview against Hubbard’s Tyreck Daniels.
In upperclass action, heavyweights Nick Lardas (Niles) and Tom Kaleel (Canfield) are paired.
A cruiserweight bout to keep an eye on has Hayden Smith (Canfield) taking on Joseph Phillips (South Range).
Niles’ Josh Mango goes up against Jesse Chenevey of Marlington in a super middleweight clash.
Trumbull County residents Jesse Burkey of Lakeview and Andre Henderson of Warren Harding will square off at light heavyweight.
Other upperclass battles include Colbie Tryon of Mathews, who tangles with Howland’s Emad Mahmoud at featherweight while Poland lightweight Ryan Patterson faces Joshua Voland of Neshannock, Pa.
Beaver Local’s Dovonte Gist will battle Aaron King of Poland at junior middleweight while Mike Sullivan of Struthers meets Eric Liston of South Range in a middleweight pairing.
“We’re absolutely pleased with the turnout and enthusiasm as we head into this year’s milestone event,” Nelson said.
Tickets cost $9 for students and $15 for adults and will be available at the door.Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first bout hitting the bell at 7.
For more information call Chuck Nelson at 330-423-2203 or 330-757-7273 or Pat Nelson at 330-727-0932.