Augusta's bantamweight boxer Rayonta Whitfield knows how to deliver. Not only did he deliver a unanimous eight-round win over his tough Mexican opponent Friday night at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, but he also delivered for his community by pushing to bring the fight here and spotlighting his hometown on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights.
An impressive crowd of 1,200 showed up for the seven-fight card, which pleased promoter Brian Young. The featured fight for the TV audience was a heavyweight bout, but for Augusta-area fans it was seeing "Sting Ray" extend his professional record to 13-0.
Whitfield, under the tutelage of Tom Moraetes and the Augusta Boxing Club, has represented his city all over the world, both as an amateur and as a professional. Friday night was an exciting homecoming - the first time he got to fight professionally in front of his Augusta-area fans. Hopefully, his victory will put the 115-pounder in line for a title shot.
Also, the fight card's success is another indication that our area is big in sports besides golf and horsing events - cycling, hockey, arena football, rowing, speed-boating and now boxing.
The Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority and Civic Center general manager Larry Rogers should use the success of the Whitfield fight as a springboard to attract more boxing fare to the Garden City. National exposure on sports television is always welcome.