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Area boxing champs to unite in Youngstown

YOUNGSTOWN — With boxing interest seemingly waning in the area, former Boardman resident Lou Schiavoni and son, Joe, will be hosting a “Night of Champions” salute on Friday, Aug. 13 at the Downtown Amphitheater that will honor Youngstown’s five world champion fighters.

It is a show that has been in the works for several years.

“Joe and I love boxing and interest seems to have waned a bit in our area,” said Lou, a Cardinal Mooney High School graduate and former Golden Gloves champion. “We’re trying to bring boxing interest back and when you look at the many great fighters that hail from the Mahoning Valley, it truly is amazing that a city the size of Youngstown could produce five world champions.

“These aren’t minor belts won, but belts from the big three which is the IBF, WBA and WBC. All five boxers have committed to attend and in addition to the Covelli Centre along with Premier Bank helping with this community day, seed money was provided by the New Orleans law firm Peiffer, Wolf, Carr, Kane and Conway as they look to branch out to Youngstown.”

The five world champions to be honored include lightweight champion Harry Arroyo (40-11-0), cruiserweight titlist Jeff “Prime Time” Lampkin (39-19-1), lightweight champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini (29-5-0), middleweight champ Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik (40-2-0) and bantamweight titlist Greg “The Flea” Richardson (31-8-1).

Also set to be introduced is local Junior Olympic gold medalist Zion Hensley, currently the top-ranked female 90-pound fighter in the United States.

“Our city is tough. For generations, the people of the Mahoning Valley have fought for everything we have,” added Judge Joe Schiavoni, who won a novice title in the last Golden Gloves event ever held in the area at the Struthers Field House. “Five guys from Youngstown have made it to the top of the toughest sport in the world and it is time that their accomplishments are celebrated.”

Videos of each fighter, compiled by Jim Fogarty of Warren, will be shown with Bob Hannon set to moderate the opening and a question and answer session afterwards.

Noted local trainer Jack Loew will close the show.

“Boxing in the Mahoning Valley is slowing down so to see Lou and Joe put on a night like this, honoring our five local world champions, hopefully it will kick-start some shows in the area,” said Tom Miller, former international boxing judge.

Lampkin, who hails from the East Side, is currently 59 yards old.

“Youngstown is and always has been a special place for boxing,” he said. “The fact that all five world champions will be honored, while a pleasant surprise is truly humbling for me.”

Mancini, who was raised on the South Side of town, is also looking forward to the event.

“I am very honored to be part of such a special event,” he said. “Recognizing the accomplishments of the five world champions from our city is a night we will all remember.”

Pavlik, also a South Side native, is currently in Las Vegas but will return in plenty of time for the event.

“I think it is a great thing because it brings attention to every world champion from our city,” he said. “The odds of becoming a world champion are slim so to have five world champions from a city our size is quite an accomplishment. It will be an exciting evening.”

Richardson, who is 63 years old, was the bantamweight champion from February 25, 1991, to September 19, 1991.

“This is big to me,” Richardson said. “I was a national champion in the amateurs but the goal was always to become a world champion and I was able to accomplish that during my career. I truly am humbled and definitely looking forward to spending time with everyone that evening.”

Eric Ryan, Covelli Centre president, has always been a big boxing fan and has followed the accomplishments of all five world champions over the years.

“Youngstown boxing history is something we are all proud of and to have all these champions on one stage at the same time will be very special,” Ryan noted. “I thank Lou and Joe for spearheading this event and making this special night a reality.”

The event, which begins at 8 p.m., is free and open to the public.

Gates are set to open at 7 p.m.

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