Tom Sorensen

These local fighters are worth seeing – if you can get a ticket

Local boxers on local cards are good for the sport – and for ticket sales.
Local boxers on local cards are good for the sport – and for ticket sales. WWW.MICZEKPHOTO.COM

I respect boxing promoters who push the local fighters. There will be nine fights on Christy Salter Martin’s card Saturday, and six local fighters.

One of them is LaVonte Early. He’s 4-0 with three knockouts and a nickname: The World Class Gentleman. That is a world class nickname, a name that appears not to have been claimed by any other boxer ever.

Early, 23, can move and hit. So can another Charlotte boxer, Stevie Massey, who is 4-0 with four knockouts. Massey is 24.

Gastonia boxer Derek Hyatt, 34, is 3-1 with one knockout. He also has competed in mixed martial arts. Mooresville’s Pedro Martinez Jr., 28, is 2-1-1.

But seeing them wont’ be easy. Tickets are gone for Saturday’s Pink Promotions card at CenterStage on N. Davidson Street, but VIP tables aren’t.

Promoting boxing is not always like promoting other sports. Sometimes boxers don’t show up. Sometimes the boxers who show up aren’t who they say they are. You claim to be 22 years old, but you collect Social Security and use a walker. There are boxing commissions, but no league to regulate it.

“Um, I get very frustrated at times and I think I must be crazy,” says Salters Martin. “But I want to be with it and try get to the other side and get some TV dates and maybe Charlotte will be the home for Pink Promotions. I just want to be in a city where boxing is more prominent, and if I can help that happen it will be awesome.

“And I think it will help when young people see the attention Stevie and LaVonte and these local guys are getting. Hopefully they’ll want to go to the gym and be a fighter.”

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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