Boxing Returns to Punta Gorda Today
28 Aug, 2020
After what seems like a long wait, amateur boxers from throughout the Southeastern United States will test their skills in the ring, thanks to the Sugar Bert Boxing National Qualifier World Boxing Council Green Belt Challenge tournament this weekend in Punta Gorda. The event will be Aug. 28-30 at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center located at 75 Taylor St.
The three-day tournament, sanctioned by USA Boxing and its Back to Boxing program, is expected to draw 200 to 300 amateur boxers. The event will adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, including limiting spectator seating, conducting temperature checks at the door, and the wearing of masks.
“CDC guidelines will be strictly enforced,” says Bert “Sugar Bert” Wells, president of Sugar Bert Boxing Promotions. “We are going to have a safe tournament that will promote the skills and training many of these boxers have sharpened since the shutdown and reopening of our country. They are ready.”
SBBP is sponsoring the event along with USA Boxing, Title Boxing, World Boxing Council, WBC Cares, KO Addition, Raynelo Management, and the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau. Boxer registration and weigh-ins occur Friday, Aug. 28, at the conference center, and the tournament starts 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29. Doors open at noon for spectators on Saturday and Sunday. Only 200 tickets will be sold per day to limit seating.
Boxers will compete in three different rings at the qualifier, separated into weight classes (bantam, intermediate, junior, senior, women, open men, novice, and master). They are vying to qualify for the title belt championship and other prizes, including eligibility to possibly receive sponsorship dollars for future USA Boxing competitions.
In keeping with USA Boxing’s prudent and incremental return to competition, this event is limiting competitors to only boxers from nearby states that are in similar phases as Florida. Therefore, only fighters from throughout the state and those from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina are eligible to compete.
Special guests at the event include undefeated professional boxer Evan “Young Holy” Holyfield, son of boxing titan Evander Holyfield; Nelson Raynelo with Raynelo Management; Chico Rivas with Warrior Boxing Promotions; Paul Pearson, president of Central Florida Boxing Association; and Sean Doherty, interim tourism director for the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau.
“The WBC Green Belt Challenge is a championship series unlike any other currently in amateur boxing,” says Wells. “These young men and women have been working hard in the months leading up to the championship, and this is their time. They are hungry.”
General admission tickets for the championship event are $25 per person; children ages 4 and under get in free. Purchase tickets in advance online or day of the tournament at the door. Visit www.sugarbertboxingpromotions.com for registration and event information or call (770) 833-7888.