Pittsburgh Pride series to bring boxing back to Sharpsburg
For the first time since 1998, there will be a boxing card in Sharpsburg.
On Aug. 24, the first in a series of 10 Pittsburgh Pride boxing shows will be held at the Linden Gymnasium at 205 North Canal Street in Sharpsburg.
The card, announced by Howard Swimmer, president of HRS Management, and Sharpsburg boxing trainer Jose Caraballo, features local amateur standouts competing for Pittsburgh Pride championship belts.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the fights beginning at 7:30.
Ticket prices are $20 for general admission and $25 for ringside seats.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Ray Schaefer Boxing Association, Guyasuta Printing and the Pittsburgh Pizza Grille, all in Sharpsburg.
Sponsorship tables are also available, at $500 per table. Call 412-708-5395 for sponsor information.
Caraballo was elated with the news that his hometown would be sponsoring the fights.
“This will be great for the community, and especially for the kids in the community,” he said. “It shows them that they have alternatives to just hanging out. This show will be a positive thing for everybody.”
He was pushing hard to get the events held in Sharpsburg.
“We could've held it anywhere in Pittsburgh, but I wanted to have it here,” Caraballo said. “I believe that the turnout will be great. The last time they held a boxing event here was over 15 years ago and I fought on the card as an amateur.
“The community came out and showed their support and I believe they'll do it again.”
Swimmer, the leader of of HRS Management, an artist and events management company located in Pittsburgh, agrees that the time is right for this event.
“Pittsburgh is rich in talented, dedicated amateur boxers, but they need regular activity to improve,” Swimmer said. “The Pittsburgh Pride Series will give them that activity while providing boxing fans with nonstop, action-packed entertainment.”
The series is the result of collaboration between Swimmer and Caraballo, a veteran professional boxer who trains amateur and professional boxers at the Ray Schaefer Boxing Association.
“I saw the kind of work Jose was doing with young adults, and how it improves their lives,” Swimmer said. “I was inspired by Jose's dedication so I asked him how I could help, and the result is the Pittsburgh Pride series.”
Caraballo has seen first-hand how boxing can improve the lives of young people.
“Ongoing Pittsburgh Pride boxing shows will strengthen amateur boxing in Pittsburgh and help our boxers and the community,” Caraballo said. “The fact is that you can't box and do drugs or any number of negative things at the same time, at least not for long.
“Amateur boxing gives our young adults focus and discipline as they pursue a worthwhile goal. As a result they do better in all areas of their lives.”
Local boxers who will be featured on the card include Jose Caraballo III, a 95-pound, three-time Golden Gloves champ; Giovani Cavilier, a 160-pound Sharpsburg resident expected to turn pro at the end of 2013; Amonte Everhardt, nationally-ranked 140 pound Open Division Golden Gloves Champ; Anthony Maggio, a rising 141 pound boxer-puncher; Nate Sands, a slick 132 pound action fighter; and Eric Sydnor, a 174 pound Golden Gloves champion ranked No. 2 in Pennsylvania.
“While the boxers are already highly motivated, the chance to win a Pittsburgh Pride championship belt gives them even greater motivation and focus,” said Swimmer.
Caraballo is proud to have his son on the card.
“I've gotten him involved in all sports but he gravitates back to boxing. It's his favorite and he's doing well,” Caraballo said. “I know it will be special for him to be boxing in his hometown. We've got a lot of other good amateur fighters, too.
“What's great about this series is that you have to defend your belt every 40 to 45 days. We'll have novice fighters and sub-novice fighters trying to win a belt. Plus, we have all of the future cards lined up for Sharpsburg. So there will be some great sports events coming up for the people of Sharpsburg.”
There will also be some professional boxers on hand to enjoy the fights and meet with the fans.
“Ray (Boom-Boom) Mancini has expressed an interest in coming to one of the shows,” Caraballo said. “He can't make it for the first one since he's on tour promoting his new book. We plan to sit down and figure out when he will be able to attend.
“I want to give all of these kids in town an opportunity and I hope they come out strong and have a good time. Anybody that wants to come down to the gym and see what it's all about is welcome there.”
Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.