Saturday’s event at Palms will honor Meshel
By Greg Gulas
Pairings are set for Saturday’s outdoor amateur fight card honoring former Ohio Sen. Harry Meshel at California Palms Hotel, 1051 North Canfield Road.
The 15-bout card, sponsored by Lights Out Management, California Palms and Sebastiani Trucking, is entitled “One More Round” with proceeds earmarked for the area’s Agency on Aging.
Five former area world champions and three local IBC title holders will be on hand to honor Meshel, who was the driving force behind forming the Ohio Boxing Commission (now known as the Ohio Athletic Commission). Meshel remains a supervisor for the International Boxing Council.
Local fighters include representatives from Burnside Athletic Club, Dickie Green’s Boxing Club, Downtown Boxing Club and Salem Boxing Club, along with boxers from gyms in Akron, Alliance, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Lorain and Pittsburgh.
“This is arguably our most competitive card to date,” said Tom Cordell, matchmaker for Lights Out Management said. “It’s an outdoor show once again and we could not have asked for a better setting than the California Palms Hotel. Fighters are ready to go and [champing] at the bit as they await the bell.”
The main event pits Akron’s David Rodriguez against Hussain Bilal of Detroit in a 152-pound pairing. One of two co-main features is also at 152 pounds and has Ronnie Hamayel of Dickie Green’s Boxing Club taking on Casey Austin of Cleveland.
The other co-main event will match heavyweights Chris Young of Downtown Boxing Club and Aleksa Canur of Cleveland.
There are three 160-pound pairings, the first of which will feature Brian Simms of Downtown B.C. as he takes on Ben Jackson of Cleveland.
The other two pairings have Mardell Halas of Salem B.C. squaring off against Bobby Helm of Pittsburgh and Deon Goodlow of Pittsburgh going up against Larry Bell of Cleveland.
In the 150-pound weight class, Austin Gibson of Burnside A.C. is matched with Matthew Tyler of Lorain while Pittsburgh’s Dan Buckley takes on Armond Richard of Cleveland.
The Buckley-Richard fight is one of three fights with an AFC North Division flavor which places Cleveland and Pittsburgh rivals against one another.
A 90-pound matchup has Kionte Johnson of Detroit meeting Joshua Knuckles of Cleveland. The two 115-pound pairings will feature Pittsburgh’s Steve Cunningham against Derek King of Cleveland and Brody White of Pittsburgh going up against Lorain’s Bryan Torres.
Rounding out the slate are four 135-pound battles with the first an all-local pairing featuring Bryce Jones of Downtown B.C. and Nate Cordova of Burnside A.C.
The other three bouts have Zi Staknacker of Akron meeting Danny Bodich of Pittsburgh, Johnny Ford of Alliance squaring off with Shavelle Johnson of Columbus and Khalil Osaze taking on Columbus native Ronnell Johnson.
“We enjoy doing outdoor shows and this particular show definitely features some excellent, up-and-coming talent,” Lights Out Management’s Mike Cefealde said. “The fact that we are honoring [Meshel] for all that he has done for our community, YSU and the sport of boxing makes the night that much more special.
“Harry has always been there for everyone, not just his constituents in the Mahoning Valley so this is a fitting way for us to say thank you and recognize him for his efforts.”
Former world champions expected to attend are lightweight title holder Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini (29-5, 23 KOs), middleweight champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs), bantamweight Greg “The Flea” Richardson (31-8-1, 4 KOs), lightweight Harry Arroyo (40-11, 30 KOs) and cruiserweight champ Jeff Lampkin (39-19-1, 34 KOs).
The three IBC champions are Craig “The Kid” Kikta (16-2, 8 KOs), Ken “The Cobra” Sigurani (22-3, 8 KOs) and Etianne “E.T.” Whitaker (33-32-2, 21 KOs).
Kikta was a welterweight champion, Sigurani a welterweight title holder and Whitaker a light heavyweight champ.
Tickets cost $15 and $23 with tables of eight ranging from $300-$400.
Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first fight at 7 p.m.
Further information may be obtained by calling either Cordell at 330-717-4201 or Cefalde at 330-787-4228.