Fighters put up their fists for hometown pride

Charity boxing card draws on Baltimore-Pittsburgh rivalry

March 24, 2012|By Ryanne Milani, The Baltimore Sun

When boxing promoter Jake Smith was approached last month by the American Red Cross Gala of Central Maryland to put together a charity event, he thought about a card he organized eight years ago in Ocean City and thought it would be a natural for this region.

Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh.

"I know how big of a rivalry there is between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I wanted to find a way to put it in the boxing ring," Smith said. "I think when we hear about Pittsburgh [in Baltimore] we cringe a little bit, so playing to that rivalry will make the event more exciting."

Friday at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, there will be 11 bouts of Olympic-style boxing starting at 8 p.m. The main event will be Jerome Featherstone fighting Logan Trout for the East Coast Championship belt.

Featherstone, who wrestled for Boys' Latin and Oklahoma State, is excited to be fighting for Baltimore. "You know it. Of course I'm a [Ravens] fan," he said.

Smith will be rooting for the Baltimore boxers during the event.

"I'm a huge Ravens fan. I grew up in Baltimore," he said. "If you grew up in Baltimore and you don't cheer for the Ravens, don't come."

The event staff will be playing Ravens fight songs and playing up the rivalry. "We're going to get the fans fired up. … I'm telling everyone to wear their Ravens shirts," Smith said. As a treat, a few Ravens players will be in attendance to cheer on the Baltimore boxers.

Smith hopes the event will inspire others like it.

"I'm going to try to bring in a lot of different teams … Baltimore vs. different areas, kind of like a league," he said.

"I'd like to hold [the event] a couple times a year. … I love it. I love the response I'm getting from it."

Smith donated 50 tickets to the Red Cross. The promoters will also hold a silent auction during the event, and half the proceeds will go to the Red Cross.

Amelia Moore, who has been involved in combat sports since she was 6 years old, also will be boxing for Baltimore. Although she grew up in Maine, she has adopted Maryland as her home away from home. "I'm a [Ravens] fan now," she said.

In addition to the Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh fights, there will be a match between Ben Lamp from the Marines and Justin Richard from the Navy.

Lamp trains at the Hanover (Pa.) Boxing Club, but the Pikesville native can't bring himself to fight for Pittsburgh.

"My family members are huge Ravens fans, so I can't wear black and gold," he said.

For more information about the card, go to baltimoreboxing.com.

xcxrmilani@baltsun.com

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