“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 we have 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 (listed alphabetically) 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 90-pound female 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 boxing 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,” stated Tom Miller, former international boxing judge.
Lampkin, who hails from Youngstown’s east side, is currently 59-years-old. “Youngstown is and always has been a special place for boxing,” he noted. “The fact that all five world champions will be honored, while a pleasant surprise is truly humbling for me.”
Mancini, who was raised on Youngstown’s south side, 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 added.
“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 stated. “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 as reality.”
The event, which begins at 8 p.m., is free and open to the public. Gates open at 7 p.m.
This article was republished here with permission from the Boardman News.