Talladega College sign

Talladega College will host a youth amateur boxing fundraiser dubbed “Talladega Fight Night” on Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the college’s gymnasium.

Turkessa Coleman, one of the organizers, said the event will showcase amateur boxing bouts with the proceeds benefiting an ongoing youth amateur boxing initiative in Sylacauga and the establishment of a similar initiative in Talladega. 

Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.

Coleman, a Talladega native and graduate of Talladega College, said the fundraiser hopes to drive down some of the statistics relative to youth violence in Talladega County.

“Last year, I was asked to be a part of the Southeastern Rocket City Boxing Gym in Huntsville specifically to raise funds, but as I got into the process, I saw how this structured youth boxing program really changed the lives of at-risk youth especially and their families,” she said.

“The goal is to be able to drive down the number of violent crimes as it relates to youth in Talladega County and to provide another resource for at-risk youth to be able to express their aggression, be able to have mentorship and those types of things.”

She added a location for a gym in Talladega has yet to be determined, but there are other measures in place ready to help support the cause.

“We do have coaches already on board,” she said. “The coach’s name is Leondric Johnson. He has a son (Leondric Johnson Jr.) that is, per se, the star of Talladega. He’s had about 26 fights, and he’s doing really well in the Olympic boxing arena. He’s geared to be the next Deontay Wilder … He graduated from Talladega High School in 2019.”

According to Coleman, Johnson Jr. is undefeated.

Coleman said the target age range for amateur boxers to participate in this initiative is 8-22.

“That’s where the number of the highest crimes lie in our community, so we want to be able to really cater to that particular age group,” she said.

As of Wednesday, 16 amateur boxing bouts had been scheduled for the event, but Coleman said that number may be subject to change.

“I want to stress the importance of amateur boxing,” she said. “You have to be completely geared, meaning the headgear and the correct USA boxing gloves. It’s not a toughman fight or an MMA, none of that type of fighting. It’s strictly for amateurs. 

“With amateur fighting, we all have to be sanctioned through USA Boxing. We have to have a doctor on staff and two nurses at the event. … All of our coaches are certified, as well as our judges and referees. They’re all sanctioned and certified through USA Boxing.”

Each bout varies in length depending on age range.

“If you’re between 8 and 11, you can only go a minute, and it goes up the older you get,” Coleman said. “The max time for a bout will be three minutes.”

Coleman said in her youth growing up in Talladega, options were plentiful when it came to activities for youth, but she observed that has not always been the case in recent years.

“This will give young folks a different avenue to take,” she said. “As of late, we lack in activities, as in structured activities, some things that will give our youth a different vision than what’s happening now. We want to be able to do that.”

For tickets, call Delvecchio Tanner (256-493-3317) or Leondric Johnson (205-753-5513).