Amateur boxing show set Saturday in Youngstown

By Greg Gulas


Pittsburgh native Keonte Irving will meet Derrick Miller of Detroit in the main event of Saturday’s “Youngstown Strong” 15-bout amateur boxing card at the Regency House, 3704 Mahoning Ave.

Presented by Lights Out Management, City Printing and YESCO Electric, Youngstown’s Brian Sims will meet Brandon Vega of Cleveland in the 147-pound co-main with a portion of the proceeds raised earmarked for a Class B baseball league scholarship in the name of four area sports contributors.

A female match-up will pit Sarah Gruber of Salem when she takes on Courtney Benning of Canton in a 145-pound scrap.

“We have some very strong local and out-of-town match-ups so this is going to be a great night of amateur boxing,” matchmaker Tom Cordell said.

“We have the No. 2-ranked light heavyweight in the country in Keonte Irving set to go for the main event while the co-main features Mahoning Valley native Brian Sims of Downtown Boxing Club.

“All matches are evenly paired.”

Irving, who is managed by Tommy Yankello of Pittsburgh’s World Class Boxing Gym, is using the fight as a tune-up for the upcoming Pennsylvania Golden Gloves tournament on April 28 in Monroeville, Pa.

“I go back about 20 years with Mike Cefalde and Tom Cordell and they are definitely a class act who run a first-class event,” said Yankello, whose amateur program is titled Stay off the Streets, Inc.

Yankello said Dan Bodish, a winner last Saturday at Jack Loew’s card in Campbell, will fight.

“We’re taking nothing for granted, but both fighters are getting ready for the upcoming Golden Gloves tournament,” Yankello said. “Each fighter has what it takes to become a national champion.”

The four area sports notables to be honored are: John Grace, longtime sandlot baseball aficionado, Bob Gorvet, sandlot baseball coach and volunteer; Don McCloud, former Youngstown State University football player under Dike Beebe and area youth football coach; and Pat Strollo, whose love for football included a stint at YSU as one of its staff members and game day personnel.

“It’s great to also be able to highlight other area boxers and at the same time, very special to honor four individuals that many feel have contributed to the success of our area sports teams and the athletes who played those sports,” said Mike Cefalde of Lights Out Management. “They did it without any fanfare and that is why they remain so very special.”

Other locals set to take part include Isaac Chatman of Downtown Boxing Club who will meet Youngstown’s Ronnie Hamayel of Dickie Green Boxing Club in a 135-pound pairing. Youngstown native Karl Heard, III will meet Da’Juben Carlisle of Stow at 140 pounds.

James Kaes of Salem Boxing Club will take on Matthew Monday of Detroit in a 145-pound match-up while Colton Schneider, also of Salem B.C., goes up against Canton’s Henry Lee in a 160 -pound pairing.

Former professional fighter Craig Snyder (22-1, 13 KOs), who won the IBC Continental America junior middleweight title in 1994, will be on hand to sign his book “The Boxers of Youngstown, Ohio: Boxing Capital of the World,” recently released by Page Publishing.

General admission tickets cost $15, VIP tickets cost $25 and tables of eight range in price from $300-$400. Doors open at 6 p.m. The first fight is at 7 p.m.

For information, call Cefalde at 330-610-2306 or Cordell at 330-717-4201.

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