By Charlie Weedon
After an almost five-year Hurricane Katrina-induced hiatus, professional boxing is returning to the Mississippi Gulf Coast at the Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis, MS, on July 24th and 25th. Promoter Leslie Bonano of “Brawlin In N’Awlins” has assembled back-to-back cards featuring up and coming Southern pugilists. Billed as “Return of the Ring,” the excitement will commence on the Casino property at 8 PM on Friday and Saturday Evenings, with the doors opening at 7 PM.
Friday’s main event will feature Jay Krupp (12-2) of New Orleans, LA, fresh off an outstanding performance on ESPN, in a jr. middleweight battle with Anthony Bowman, a veteran of 44 fights, from Jackson, TN.
The undercard also features:
– Jr. middleweight Jarrard Leblanc (8-0) from Breaux Bridge, LA, versus Moises Martinez of Rome, GA.
– Heavyweight Bobby O’Bannon (5-2) of Mobile, AL, vs. Francisco Moncivais (1-0), a former National Golden Gloves Champion from Laurel, MS.
– Will Crittenden from Gulfport, MS, will battle Joseph Williams of Rome, GA in their middleweight pro debut.
– Special Feature Dora Baptiste (1-1) from Gulfport, MS, takes on Kimberly Connor (3-1) of Little Rock, AR, in a female welterweight attraction.
On Saturday, July 25th, welterweight Brad Solomon (6-0) from Atlanta, GA, will be featured in the main event. Solomon, a former National and World Golden Gloves champion, will slug it out with Mikel Williams of Monroe, LA.
In the highly anticipated co-feature, the pride of St. Bernard, LA, Gary Bergeron (10-3) takes on the dangerous Henry (Ambush) Mitchell (10-8) from Ft. Walton, FL, in a jr. welterweight battle-royal.
Also in a special feature action is Tommy Harper (14-2) from Destrehan, LA as he returns to the ring one last time in front of a large contingent of local fans. Harper will fight James Johnson (26-33) from Dallas, TX, and Shreveport in a cruiserweight match-up.
The undercard also includes:
– The Mighty Mason Menard (4-1) from Lafayette, LA, will have a very large following coming in from Cajun Country to cheer him on in his lightweight bout with Bobby Hill (1-2) of Gulfport, MS.
– James Jones from Nashville, TN, and James Jenkins of Atlanta, GA, will both be looking to notch their first victory against one loss by opening the show in an all out slugfest.
Jeffrey Sabree, Senior Director of Marketing at Hollywood Casino states, “I am excited to bring professional boxing back to Bay St. Louis. I am looking for super matches, lots of fun, and to continuing this casino’s tradition of presenting the best in boxing entertainment to the Gulf Coast”.
Tickets are available at Tokens Gift Shop or by phone at 1-866-758-2591. Prices range from $20 to $100.