The road to one of the most prestigious events in amateur boxing passes through Chesapeake this weekend.
USA Boxing's Mid-Atlantic regional, a qualifier for the Junior Olympics, will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Chesapeake Marriott. Fighters from six states will attempt to qualify for the Junior Olympic national championships in Alabama next month.
"It's a big deal, man, because without this, you can't move on," said Pete Joyner, whose company, 12 Rounds Boxing, is putting on the event. "You've got to go through here."
About 100 fighters, ages 11-16, are expected. Only those in the 15-16 age group can advance. For the younger fighters, a regional title is the highest they can attain.
Joyner's company hosted the state Junior Olympic championships at Norfolk's Barraud Park gym last month. The longtime adviser to Hall of Famer Pernell "Sweetpea" Whitaker said he wanted to "step things up" for the regionals in an attempt to revive interest in amateur boxing.
Tickets are available at the door - $15 for general admission, $10 for kids 13 and under and $20 for ringside. Bouts begin at 4 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
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