Stephen eyes boxing card at Gill Stadium
MANCHESTER — The New Hampshire Boxing and Wrestling commissioner said he's willing to organize a boxing card as part of Gill Stadium's 100th birthday celebration next year.
“In the late 50's, some people may remember that we held boxing events at the old Athletic Field, which is now known as Gill Stadium,” said Bobby Stephen. “We use to feature boxers from the United States and Canada and I actually fought in some of those matches. So I would be interested in bringing boxing back to Gill Stadium.”
Peter Capano, Chief of the Manchester Parks and Recreation, said weeks ago he wanted to speak with Stephen about a boxing event.
“I think we can work something out with the city,” said Stephen. “It'll take some time and planning, but we can get something done.”
Stephen confirmed yesterday that he convinced former United States Olympian Demetrius Andrade to agree to a $10,000 contract to be in the main event for Thursday night's Fight to Educate.
“When you consider he's ranked fourth by the International Boxing Federation and fifth by the World Boxing Organization, he did us a favor signing that contract,” said Stephen. “In the near future, he's going to get six-figure contracts when he fights other top-rated contenders. Demetrius did us a favor signing for less money, but he also wanted to be here. Don't forget he's been here three straight years and he knows our event raises money for charity. He wants to be here to help our cause because he cares.”
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Proceeds from the 11th annual Fight to Educate will benefit SEE Science Center (www.see-sciencecenter.org), The Bobby Stephen Fund for Education (www.stepheneducationfund.com), and New Horizons for New Hampshire.
“We have raised over $600,000 through the first 10 years and that's a significant amount,” said Stephen. “I want to thank the community at-large for all their support and I have to mention Stephen Singer, who has been a hard worker behind the scenes. He's auctioned off sports items over the years to help us raise money and he's just been one of greatest supporters.”
Judges for the two pro bouts Thursday were Mike Nolin of Canterbury, Frank Wells of Fremont and Norm Champagne of Manchester. The referee was Dave Greenwood and the physician at ringside was Dr. Brian Claussen of the Catholic Medical Center.
“We were fortunate to get the best of the best and I have to mention that each of them didn't charge us a dime,” said Stephen. “They all donated their time for charity and again, that's another reason this event continues to remain strong and popular.”
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Probably the biggest highlight leading into Thursday night's boxing card was an appearance made by 10-year-old Christopher Duffley, of Manchester, who sang “God Bless America.” Duffley, who is blind and has been diagnosed with autism, received a standing ovation from the crowd.