The show serves as a fundraiser for the Marco Island Boxing Club, a nonprofit that provides youths with boxing instruction, at no charge, to enhance their lives through exercise, and develop character, self-discipline, self-confidence, structure, work ethic and friendships. All coaches are volunteers, including the club’s founder and president, Richie Stoltenborg, a detective with the Marco Island Police Department, who opened it in May of 2016.Sponsors, donations and fundraisers are the organization’s sole revenue generators and all funds are poured directly back into the organization.
There will be 12 bouts, including an all-female contest, and six members of the Marco club will take part: Reycel and Antony Blanco, Carlos Arce, Celso Pineda, Won Kyu Shin and Roberto Beltran, who won the 141-pound novice belt at December’s Florida’s Police Athletic League Championships.
“They’ve been training hard,” Stoltenborg said of his fighters.
Some of the U.S. contingent’s other members are from the Dover Boxing Club, in New Jersey, which he cofounded in 1994 while living in that area. It was there, about 20 years ago, that Stoltenborg began organizing boxing shows with Irish youths through that country’s Cross Community Project.
“They take kids from different clubs, different backgrounds and different religions for a team,” he said. “They take kids from the Catholic neighborhoods, the Protestant neighborhoods, and try to build cohesion and unity between the two sides. It’s been a great success.”
Stoltenborg began holding the boxing shows on Marco seven years ago, continuing the relationship he’d formed with the event’s namesake, the late Frank Gervin, founder and coach of Ireland’s Clonoe Boxing Club. Gervin passed away in 2015 after a lifetime dedicated to coaching the sport for that country’s youth.
“A super-nice guy and a huge celebrity back in Ireland because of boxing,” said Stoltenborg. “He ran a club for about 50 years. We make sure we have a couple kids from his old club taking part in it.”
The team with the most wins is awarded the Frank Gervin Belt, which was captured by the Irish squad last year.
“All the fights are pre-matched with opponents,” said Stoltenborg. “That’s when I reach out to the state associations and I’m looking for specific fighters with the same age, weight and experience. We try to match the kids evenly.”
Doors for the show will open at 5 PM and the action will begin at 6 PM. Tickets are $20 and seating will be general admission, although the first three rows will be reserved for event sponsors. There will also be a DJ, a bagpipe player, a 50-50 raffle, ring girls provided by Xcel Fitness Spa, and food and beverages.
“Come on out and have a great time,” said Stoltenborg. “It’s a great venue. All the seats are close. It’s always a great time. People enjoy it every time they go and it helps the kids out. That’s what it’s all about.”
To purchase tickets, learn more or to become a sponsor, call Stoltenborg at 201-694- 2182 or Dale at 239-784-2318 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Marco Island Boxing club is located at 20 Marco Lake Drive, Unit 7. For more information about the organization, including its exercise opportunities for adults, visit marcoislandboxingclub.com or facebook.com/ MIBCBOXING or call Stoltenborg.