St. Paddy’s Showdown A Huge Success

Unless otherwise noted, photos by Stefhen Capel Watson

Having never been to one of the annual WPAL DuBois boxing extravaganza’s, I didn’t know what to expect. But I should have guessed I was going to experience something very special when I pulled into the DuBois Country Club, on Saturday, March 18th, in what I thought was surely plenty of time to get a good parking spot and had to park an eighth of a mile or more from the Banquet and Conference Center.

CSZ Photo: Aaron Beatty and Rickie Frantz who entertained with Irish folk songs prior to the program’s start

Once I got to the facility, I saw the line to get in extended outside. Thank God for a media pass that got me ushered in the “Express Lane” to check in.

Turns out that for this Tenth Annual event, that all 540 seats were sold. And including the standing room only, WPAL DuBois director Aaron Beatty estimated 650-700 in attendance.

The St. Paddy’s Showdown featured Team Ireland from the Golden Gloves Boxing Club from Churchfield Cork, Ireland, Team 814 from WPAL DuBois, the Team 412 National Team from Pittsburgh, as well as other clubs from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.

Other Pennsylvania clubs represented by one or more boxers included: the Watkins’ Boxing (Indiana) Butler Cubs, (Butler); Bizzaro’s Boxing (Erie); Erie Boxing Academy (Erie); and Irish Boxing Club (Scranton).

The other clubs included: Big Lick Boxing (Roanoke, Virginia); Main Street Gym (Salisbury, Maryland); Upton Boxing Center (Baltimore, Maryland).

The Showdown included male and female boxers ages 11 and up.

Team Ireland’s entrance: Coach Morrissey third from left

The event opened with Team Ireland and Team 412 National Team entering the ring, with the members of both carrying American Flags and Ireland Coach John Morrissey leading a chant of USA… USA…

Team 412 National Team making their entrance

After everyone rose to their feet, Shannon Cooper, from DuBois sang the Irish National Anthem followed by her daughter Selah singing the Star Spangled Banner.

National Anthem singers Shannon Cooper and daughter Sehla.

Then Aaron thanked many individuals and groups for their work with the event and WPAL DuBois in general. Some of those included: the DuBois Country Club, Sponsors, the volunteer officials from USA Boxing, volunteer coaches, and everyone in attendance. He gave special thanks to Local Law Enforcement, Fire and other First Responders as well as Active Military and Veterans, mentioning the great help they have been in working with WPIAL DuBois and “building strong long lasting relationships with the kids.”

Local Law Enforcement, Fire and other First Responders as well as Active Military and Veterans get to train free, be it boxing workouts, lifting workouts etc., at WPAL DuBois.

Ring Announcer Alec Krause on right with one of the night’s referees on the left

The Ring Announcer was Alec Krause, DJ for Pop 93.1, who did a great job announcing the bouts and keeping things moving from bout to bout. He did a masterful job in transitioning from the end of one bout, to sponsors presenting belts to the winners and on to the next bout.

Flag Bearers, in Kilts, with the Stars and Stripes and the Irish flag

The first six bouts were between American fighters.

The first fight was a developmental bout between 14 year old Luke Sorek from Team 814 and 15 year old Isiah Torres from the Irish Boxing Club of Scranton. Being a developmental bout, there was no official score.

The rest of the bouts all resulted in a decision.

In order, the results of the next five bouts (with the boxers ages in parenthesis) were: Amir Ransom (13) – Team 412 over Lennox Horton (13) Main Street Gym; Naz Graves (21) – Big Lick Boxing over Gerimiah Emptage (20) – Irish Boxing Club; Thomas “TJ” Weaver (18) – Team 814 over Jesus Gomez (18) – Main Street Gym; Keon Kyte (24) – Team 412 over Shane  Alwahami (26) – Erie Boxing Club.

There was an intermission between those bouts and the International Bouts.

Special awards and recognition were made during the intermission and after the fight card concluded. Some of those recognized included: Kristy Murphy who is the owner and director of No Excuses Gym Training & Coaching gym on First Avenue (River Hill) in Clarion (she has run No Excuses since 2014) and has long been an important cog in the workings of WPAL DuBois since 2017. She is the program coordinator and a beginners boxing instructor; Coach Randy Strickland WPAL DuBois/Team 814 Coach, Shannon and Selah Cooper; Scott and Colleen Cup from Animal Health Services Veterinary, who approached Aaron to get Golden Gloves event started and have been involved ever since.

Also, at the end of the evening, Tim Winters from Visit Clearfield County had everyone give a big round of applause to Aaron as he was recognized for his tireless service with WPAL DuBois.

There were eight International Bouts. In order, the results of the those bouts (with the boxers ages in parenthesis) were: Ellie Murray (11) -Team Ireland over Ashley Carter (13) – Team 412; Scott O’Sullivan (14) – Team Ireland over Damion Kast (13) – Butler Cubs; Kelvin Greaney (22) – Team Ireland over Anthony Reid (28) – Upton Boxing; Gea Fultz (13) – Team 412 over Jasmine McCarthy (14) – Team Ireland; Dylan O’Driscoll (23) – Team Ireland over Angelo Bizzarro (18) Erie Boxing Academy; Bryan Long (29) – Team Ireland over Jacob Zasowski (21) – Watkins Boxing; Teaira Skinner (20) – Upton Boxing over Saorise Morrissey (20) – Team Ireland; and Aaron O’Donoghue (23) – Team Ireland over Aziz Yasin (20) Big Lick Boxing.

CSZ photo: Kristy Murphy and Donna Shaeffer at the check in station

In addition to Kristy, there were a number of other folks from around the Clarion and Clarion County area that were in attendance, including: Dr. Robert Armstrong, Dave Estadt of DE Sports, local lawyer Terry Heeter and Ken Wilson and Josh Kriebel (who was very gracious in giving me a ride back to my car at the event’s conclusion); several volunteers from the Clarion Area, photographers Brenna Armstrong and Addison Seigel and Addison Siegel and also Dan Murphy (Kristy’s husband), Donna Shaeffer. Although Dr. Cynthia Hoffmeier from Simply Skin, in Clarion was not able to attend, she donated a very generous raffle item.

CSZ Photo: Brenna Armstrong and Addison Siegel

There very well could have been more Clarion area folks in attendance that I am not aware of.

The “Bout of the Night” went to Thomas “TJ” Weaver from Team 814 over Jesus Gomez from Main Street Gym and the “Sportsmanship Award” winner was Team 412.

The door prize was a pair of gloves autographed by all the boxers and the 50/50 totaled $2,016, with the winner receiving $1,108.

A highlight at the end was when Team 412 National Team was given a warm send off to the National Qualifier in Detroit, held the next week and Team Ireland also given a warm send off for their trip back home.

Coach Morrissey and Team Ireland are returning the favor, as WPAL DuBois/Team 814 has been invited to lace them up again for St. Patrick’s Day 2024, in Ireland. This is something the kids and coaches from Team 814 will remember for the rest of their lives.

(Photo submitted)

Coach Beatty had this to say about the event and the WPAL DuBois programs, “This year the excitement was off the charts, fun for everyone involved, from the kids training and the participants watching, the sponsors that helped support. I think everyone got their money’s worth.

“I think what we did this year was very, very worth it for the long haul for the organization and for these kids. We’re going to Ireland next year… It was fun having Team Ireland here. Some things you pay for on the slice.

“It’s (St Paddy’s Showdown) our flagship fundraiser. It’s our overall fundraiser for the whole year. It’s our biggest event that we host.

“It is pretty much the lifeline of our organization, so it goes to everything. It helps with our youth program. And that is pretty much what our gym is focused around. Our Slogan, our Motto is ‘Always for the Kids.’ We do help adults there as well.

“But these budgets and these grants and these sponsorships, and anything that we do receive is really allotted toward youth programs.

“Any child that wants to come and work out at the gym, it’s always free. Any child that wants to take any of our group activities that do have a fee associated with it, we have a program scholarship that anyone can apply for. So we never turn anyone down for lack of money… Period! That’s important.

“So this event is one of the ways that we are able to sustain that mission.”

WPAL DuBois also has various programs for all ages, with special accommodations for those with special needs.

(Congratulations to Aaron, WPAL DuBois and all of those involved in this great event!!!!)