Birthday party held for Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini and Rocker Donny Iris
Friday night, around 80 people gathered at the Sigaro Cigar Lounge in Hubbard. They were there to celebrate the birthdays of former boxing champion and Youngstown legend, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini and rocker musician Donny Iris.
"Two of our favorite friends and customers and of course, Boom Boom is a Youngstown legend and we like to think has become an ambassador for this community and Donny Iris has done the same in Pittsburgh," said Sigaro Co-Owner Steve DeGenaro.
Mancini turned 62 earlier this month, while Iris turned 80 in February. The pair struck up a friendship 10-to-15 years ago.
"I haven't seen Ray for a couple years now and I'm excited as I can be," Donny Iris said.
"I remember listening to his music and then I got a chance to meet him and just what a wonderful person he is," Ray Mancini said.
One thing they both have in common is their love of cigars and over time, they became friends with the co-owners of Sigaro, Jaime Garayua and Steve DeGenaro, who opened Sigaro back in July and say this is one of their biggest events held yet.
"We've been blessed," Garayua said. "In Hubbard, the community, the council, everybody from start to finish have been extremely inviting and welcoming and it's good because when you are moving into a community, you are looking to open up a business, those type of things are very important."
"We did this for all our members, for Donny and Ray and it's just a great night," DeGenaro said.
"I hope people in Youngstown and the area will come and patronize it and give it a shot because once they see it they are really going to fall in love with this place and my friend Steve and Jamie and Jamie did all the interior, all the work himself and its special man, I'm telling you, this is what a real cigar club should be," Mancini said.
Internationally renowned tenor Marco Fiorante provided the entertainment with Station Square providing the food.
Jackie Popovec from The Vindy's even sang Happy Birthday.
"It means everything, Derek, look, only a place like Youngstown when you got special friends, special people that they do something like this," Mancini said. "They ain't going do like this in a major city, but this is home, always been home. I love these people, I love this place and it's just wonderful to have a night like this with all these people, I'm just flattered."
Next month, Mancini will be celebrated even more when he's inducted into the National Boxing Hall of Fame, the third such hall of fame he'll be a member of.
As his dreams continue to come true though, he's urging others to chase after theirs.
"Remember, they are not coming to you, you got to go take it, you got to go after it," Mancini said. "My father taught me, if you want a challenge, challenge greatness but you got to go take it, greatness ain't coming to you, you got to try to be great, you got to want to be great but you got to go after it."
Iris will be playing at the Robbins Theater in Warren in May and in Youngstown with REO Speedwagon in June.
For more information on Sigaro Cigar Lounge, call 330-568-4212. You can inquire about a membership and all the different cigars they offer.