By Steven J Canton
The SJC boxing gym in Fort Myers played host to a fun filled Saturday with its 4th annual open house and fundraiser. Approximately 150 fans came from all over the state to participate in the many activities, meet the VIP guests in attendance, enjoy the refreshments and see what has made the gym so successful during its 25 years in Southwest Florida. Several SJC boxers entertained the audience with lively sparring sessions, while others hit the speed bags, skipped rope, and trained.
There was a moving tribute and ten-count for former world champion Ezra Sellers, who trained at the SJC Gym and sparred with some of the fighters present while preparing for his title winning victory in Manchester, England against Carl Thompson in 2001. Ezra was just inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame last June and died suddenly of heart complications last month, leaving behind his wife and two sons.
The highlight of the afternoon was Hall of Fame announcer Bob Alexander revealing the names of the new inductees for the Class of 2014, while talking a little about each one and highlighting their contributions to the sweet science.
The Florida Boxing Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014:
Living inductees include: former world champion Mike McCallum, and top contenders Francisco Arreola and Jose Ribalta, trainer James “Buddy” McGirt, promoters: Walter Alvarez, Luis De Cubas and Felix “Tutico” Zabala, historian: Don Cogswell, media: Santos Perez, boxing official Paul Herman and participants: Ed Levine, Fred Levin and Leo Thalassites.
Those being inducted posthumously include: former world champion Kid Gavilan, top contenders Tony Alongi, Carl “Red” Guggino and James Salerno, trainers Jose Caron-Gonzalez and Moe Fleischer, and boxing official Alvin Goodman.
Jimmy Resnick and Peter Trematerra will receive Boxing Achievement Awards.
The formal induction weekend is set for June 20, 21, and 22, 2014 in Tampa.