By TOM GODFREY
Some of Toronto’s top amateur boxers will be duking it out with rivals from Nova Scotia in a black-tie “Fight for Youth” event to raise funds for young people facing challenges.
Toronto boxers, Holly Hunter and Sara Gheisari, are among seven novice and elite fighters who are taking to the ring on March 5 to help Believe to Achieve (BTA), a non-profit organization that helps children in the Jane & Finch area who are at risk.
Hunter has 30 fights under her belt and is a former Ontario champion and winner of the Brampton Cup. She has fought Canadian boxer, Mary Spencer, who placed fifth in the 2012 Olympics.
Gheisari, a newcomer, captured the Brampton Cup earlier this month for being one of the best amateur female boxers in Ontario.
Most of the Toronto-area boxers train at Gideon Boxing Academy on Progress Ave., which is well-known by young fighters in the Scarborough area.
“This will be a good card and people will be very entertained,” said Horace Hunter, the owner of Gideon and an organizer of the fight. “We are featuring some of the top amateur fighters from Ontario and Nova Scotia and people are in for a surprise.”
The event will take place at Arcadian Court, 401 Bay St., Simpson Tower, on the eighth floor. Tickets are $5,000 to $7,500 for a table and proceeds are going to the BTA’s youth drop-in centre at 160 Chalkfarm Dr., in North York.
The “Fight for Youth” card was launched last week by group founder, Spider Jones, Mayor John Tory and former Canadian heavyweight boxing champs, George Chuvalo and Razor Ruddock.
“I wholeheartedly support the efforts of Spider Jones, whose Jane & Finch area after school centre feeds, motivates and mentors kids of all ages,” said Tory. “Creating caring communities is what it’s all about.”
The drop-in centre provides meals for children, aged 8 to 16 and has a computer room, homework areas, an athletic area and offers outreach programs as well as mentorships and homework help for area youth.
“People can expect a great fight night with all proceeds going to help youth who need our help,” Jones told Share. “Some of the best amateur fighters in the country will be here.”
He moved the fight from North York to the more lucrative Bay St. in a bid to raise about $40,000 for the organization, which has up to 60 youth receiving help on any given night.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage has welcomed the event and is supporting his seven fighters in Toronto. He will appear by Skype during the event.
“Halifax and Nova Scotia look forward to being a part of this great event,” said Savage. “Besides Nova Scotia, we know who will win. It is the kids.”
Jones said some of the fighters have a chance of making the Canadian Olympic boxing team in the future.
“These fighters are amateurs and are competing for bragging rights,” he said. “These are some of the top fighters out there now.”
Jones, who was born in Windsor and raised in Detroit, dealt with a learning disability, fell behind in class, became disillusioned and dropped out of school in Grade 5. He then turned to a life of crime with juvenile detention and prison to follow soon after.
He turned his life around and became a boxer and returned to school and became an award-winning journalist and radio personality, author and motivational speaker.
“My mission has always been with kids because I come out of that background,” he said, adding his goal is to make sure no child goes through the kind of life that he did.