School may still be out for summer, but Harnett Central High School is hosting a sporting event this weekend that’s sure to pack a punch.
The school will hold this year’s Christy Martin Title Boxing Invitational, put on by the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office Police Athletic League program.
Mark Hornsby, director of the sheriff’s office PAL program, is the main organizer of the event. And he’s excited to bring some of the best amateur boxers in the country to Harnett County.
“This is just like the Minor Leagues in baseball,” Hornsby said. “Some of boxing’s top coaches and scouts will be there, from California all the way to New York, to watch some of the most talented young boxers. It’s going to be a really big deal and there’s going to be some really great fights.”
The tournament isn’t just for boxers with professional aspirations though. Boys and girls, men and women, novices and masters will compete in age groups from 8-10 years old all the way up to 40-plus.
Registration for the tournament is $25 and can be completed online at www.ncusaboxing.net. Tickets are $15 per night. Hornsby said they’re expecting nearly 300 boxers to participate in the tournament, which is open to all USA registered boxers and is sponsored by Title Boxing and the World Boxing Council. There will be three or four rings used to accommodate the large volume of people.
“We’re going to fill this gym all the way up,” Hornsby said. “We were hoping to have it at Campbell University, but we’re happy to do it at Harnett Central. I expect it to be standing room only though.”
Registration for the tournamnet will be held Thursday night from 6-9. Boxing will begin on Friday at 5 p.m. and the championships will be held Saturday starting at 4 p.m., where winners will receive WWE-style championship belts, and WBC medals will go to the runners-up.
The tournament is being promoted by Christy Martin, a former world champion who helped put women’s boxing on the map during her career in the 1990s and 2000s. Now she uses her fame to help promote fights throughout North Carolina.
Proceeds from the event will go towards the sheriff’s office PAL program. This is the first year in which Hornsby’s position as director is being funded. Prior to this year, he served the position voluntarily.
“I just want to thank the county commissioners and Sheriff Wayne Coats for helping get the position funded,” Hornsby said. “This event would help us out tremendously as we try to grow our boxing, wrestling and track and field programs.”
For more information on the tournament or on the sheriff’s office PAL program, contact Mark Hornsby by phone at 910-890-5534 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.