Local fighters strut their stuff in the ring

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By Alice Du Pont

Small town entertainment takes various forms from square dancing to community theater to car shows. Saturday night at Quincy's livestock pavilion, the entertainment was confined to a boxing ring.


About 200 area spectators braved wind and rain to attend the Best of the Best IV, which was sponsored by USA Boxing, the Quincy Fighting Tigers Gym and Gadsden County Tourist Development.

"The weather really hurt us. The Spears Boxing Club out of Dothan, Ala., which usually brings about 10 boxers and 50 spectators, called early to cancel because of the weather. Then a little later the team out of Montgomery, Ala. called to cancel, too," said Richard Burns, fight promoter.

Stephen McIntyre of the Dothan, Ala. Wolfpack Team came early with his trainer and aunt Denise McCray to get the lay of the land. More than an hour before his match with Adam Reeves of Tallahassee’s Fighting Tigers, McCray was taping McIntyre's hands. He spent another 45 minutes shadow boxing and listening to his trainer's advice

"This is the first time I've taped so it has to be good," McCray said, watching McIntyre's face for any sign of tightening.

When Chris Medina arrived and put his duffle bag down, he was immediately shown to the medical area for a physical. Dr. Paul Hartsfield from Tallahassee checked each fighter before he was allowed to suit up or spar.

"I'm from California," Medina said, on his way to the dressing room. He fought with the Tallahassee Fighting Tigers.

Matches, like the one Saturday night, take about a month to organize, Burns said.

But the teams in this area support each other and often travel to events. Sometimes, teams will travel as far as North Carolina for a match.

In addition to promoting physical fitness and healthy living, Burns said, the amateur sport teaches young people responsibility, fair play and character.

Burns said the Quincy team also received community support from people who travel out of town to support the boxers and those who never fail to show up at a local match. They have a loyal following which gives the younger participants the opportunity to get to know the fans. Two major supporters were introduced during intermission.

"I want to recognize our No. 1 supporters this year. They have been there for us and these kids. We want to show our appreciation by presenting them with this trophy and a contribution to the youth department of their church," Burns said, before introducing Rev. Cedric Spradley and his wife, Pat Cunningham Spradley, to the sparse but enthusiastic crowd.

"These young people are important and we're here to support them in whatever way we can. Look at all of the families out here tonight. This is good clean fun," Spradley said.

The winners in matchups Saturday night, in three rounds at two minutes each, were:

• Christopher Medina, Tallahassee Fighting Tigers Gym vs. Jeffery Murray, Lincoln Center-Tallahassee, in the 175-pound class. Murray was the winner.

• Bradford Willlams, Quincy Fighting Tigers vs. Edgar Lovett, unattached, in the 152-pound class. Lovett was the winner.

• Deonte Burns, Quincy Fighting Tigers vs. Eric Richards, Lincoln Center-Tallahassee, in the 130-pound class. Burns was the winner.

• Stephen McIntyre, Wolfpack of Dothan, Ala. vs. Adams Reeves, Tallahassee Fighting Tigers, in the 120-pound class. McIntyre was the winner.