An optimist might say that the banquet hall was half-full during the amateur boxing show Saturday night at a Banquet hall in Lakemoor.
Cary resident Paul Jonas, a promoter putting on his first amateur boxing show, is an optimist and he said Saturday was the first of many fight nights to come.
“I’m all in,” Jonas said. “It’s not quantity that counts. It’s quality.”
Many sitting ringside at Lakemoor Banquets, including boxing coaches, saw an exciting night of boxing and offered rave reviews.
“I’m happy with this venue,” said Tony Prignits, a boxing coach with the Pug’s Boxing Club in Crystal Lake. “Tonight you saw even matchups and exciting boxing. For Paul’s first time around, it was a very good show. Things like this need time to catch on. I bet there will be double the audience next time.”
Jim Gustafson, a Lake in the Hills resident, said he hopes amateur boxing will catch on in a big way in the far Northwest suburbs. He was ringside and watched his son, Jimmy Jr., a member of Pug’s Boxing Club, win a split-decision over Jose Diaz, a member of the Rivas Boxing Club, in the 135-pound novice class.
“I’m tired of driving downtown or out the south suburbs to watch boxing,” Gustafson said adamantly. “I’ve done that. I’d rather come here. There are plenty of boxing fans out here that would support these kinds of shows. Word’s got to get out.”
Jonas worked for months getting the needed sanctioning – including a matchmaker, boxing referees, judges and a glove man. A U.S. Marine Corps color guard was on hand as Jonas’ daughter sang the national anthem.
The critical factor at any boxing event for a promoter – even at the professional level – is to make sure that boxers who say they’re are coming to the show actually do.