Youngstown vs. Italy: Battle of the Boxers - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown vs. Italy: Battle of the Boxers

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The city of Youngstown has a storied boxing history. Some say that glory has faded.

In an effort to bring it back, one of Youngstown's great boxing champions, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini helped organize an international boxing event Thursday night at the Covelli Centre. It was all in an effort to showcase local talent.

With every jab, hook, and uppercut, the goal for a boxer is simple. Knock out your opponent. 

"Boom Boom" Mancini had a number of those in his storied career, but now he's trying to help the next generation.

"It's the greatest discipline I know, it helped make me the man I am," said Mancini.

That's why Mancini helped organize Youngstown vs. Italy, an international boxing event featuring amateur fighters from the Youngstown and Pittsburgh area going toe to toe with their Italian counterparts.

"People are always talking about the amateur program why has it gone, you know, fallen by the wayside, why is not as strong as it once was from the 70s and 80s and I said you know, I think they don't have the support they once did so this was a chance to showcase our local talent," said Mancini.

While the turnout wasn't what Mancini had hoped for, the fans that did show up appreciate his efforts.

"'Boom Boom' is doing a good thing by bringing people in here and let it, you know, grow and that's what it needs to be, these young fighters need to fight somewhere," said Robert Holmes. 

And for the fighters, it's a chance to up their game and gain valuable experience against international competition.

"It was a different look you know, I never fought anybody like that from a different country. They fight different so, you get some more experience," said 14-year-old boxer Steven Cunningham.

"There's no greater teacher than experience so when they go on to fight in bigger tournaments, national tournaments, they'll have the experience of competing against international competition," said Mancini.

Thursday nights boxing event was also a fundraiser with a portion of the proceeds going to the Boom Boom Mancini Foundation, which helps local causes. 

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