Club proud to host tournament

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Tom Moraetes had a huge smile on his face as he walked around, shaking hands on Friday night.

The joy that the club director was feeling came from realization of a dream he has had for years.

The Augusta Boxing Club played host to the Region 3 Southeast Junior Olympic Boxing Championships, marking the first time in the history of the club that a major event was held inside the walls of its training facility.

"I've been wanting to do it for a long time and the timing was perfect," said Moraetes. "I'm really excited about this."

Moraetes said that not tying up one of the Augusta Recreation and Parks Department venues during Memorial Day weekend was a leading cause for the decision to move the tournament to the small gym.

"It was kind of a risky situation, to do this after never having done it in the 35 year history of the training center. But it looks great. Everyone is happy so I'm happy," Moraetes said.

Earlier in the week, prison crews were brought in to help remove much of the gym's equipment in order to make room for additional seating. The result was an attendance of more than 200 fans squeezing into the boxing club to check the nine bouts on the card.

"When (Moraetes) first told me he wanted to do this, I immediately wondered how it was going to work. But sure enough, it did," said recreation department athletic division manager Chris Scheuer.

Moraetes believes the smaller venue creates a more intimate experience for the boxing fans, reminiscent of matches held in the early part of the 20th century.

"A lot of times when you have fights in bigger places, some of the folks that show up are just there to be there," said Moraetes.

"But the folks that showed up (Friday night), they are real boxing fans."

Some of the fans that came out may have done so to see Augusta's Justin Deloach pursue a second trip the national championships. But they wouldn't get that chance because Deloach's opponent, Erick Sanders, withdrew from the bout.

"It still feels good (to be in the finals), but I was really looking forward to fighting on the first night," Deloach said.

The forfeiture puts the 16-year-old Butler High School student into tonight's final against Lou Grant, who defeated Joel Zamudio in the semifinals.

Fellow Augusta Boxing Club member 15-year-old Nicholas Torrance will also be in action against Ricky Tomlinson. Torrance is looking to reach the nationals for the first time.

If you go

WHAT: Finals of the Region 3 Southeast Junior Olympic Boxing Championships

WHERE: Augusta Boxing Club, 1929 Walton Way

WHEN: 7 p.m. tonight

TICKETS: $15 for adults, $5 for children

INFORMATION: Call (706) 733-7533 or visit www.augustaboxing.org


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