Things will be a bit different when the gloves start flying in the next installment of the Boxing at the Pipkin series.
First off, it will be a Saturday (June 8) and that’s a change from the Wednesday affairs that have packed the Pipkin Building at the Fairgrounds for each of the previous three, youth-oriented boxing events.
And, this time around a team of boxers from Arkansas will take on a slate of Memphis-area boxers.
Presented by Mayor Jim Strickland and the Memphis Office of Youth Services, Boxing At The Pipkin 4 is set for 7 p.m., with the doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free but tickets are required and available at multiple locations.
Driving the Boxing At the Pipkin series is Office of Youth Services Director Ike Griffith. It grew out of an alliance initially powered by former CDA Security founder and one-time policeman Clift Dates, the Memphis Boxing Group, LLC, Battlefields of Life Foundation, the Restoration House Boxing Academy, the Afro-American Police Association, Youth Services and The New Tri-State Defender.
Pete Mitchell, founder of Restoration House Boxing Academy, said a Pine Bluff, Ark., boxing coach thew a challenge at the Memphis operation.
“I said, ‘let’s get it on,’” said Mitchell. “We’re probably going to have about 12 bouts. The Arkansas kids will be from different places in Arkansas.”
The age range of the boxers mostly will be 8 years through 17 years, with a sprinkling of young adults. As with the other Boxing at the Pipkin events, the goal is to engage youth who might not be attracted to other sports.
Griffith was pumped about the opportunity Boxing at the Pipkin 4 presents for the young boxers.
“Competition is always good. I think that (the Arkansas element) will give our young people an opportunity to box individuals that they are not familiar with and also prepare them to hone more on their skills.”
The long-term goals include a Memphis boxing team to represent the city in regional, national and international competition.
“August 3rd we will have Memphis vs Chattanooga,” Griffith said. “This also will be a Saturday night event. We’re elated about bringing boxers from other areas to our city for good, clean competition.”
The mayors of some Arkansas cities have been invited to attend Boxing at the Pipkin 4, he said.
“We want the mayors to come and witness. I’ll ask the mayor what he wants to put up as a little challenge,” Griffith joked. “I think it would be real good for the mayors to come over and support the youth of their city. When you have leadership of that caliber to really support our young people, that speaks volumes.”
Tickets are available at various locations, including the Memphis Office of Youth Services, 315 S. Hollywood, and the following police precincts: Old Allen Station, 3633 Allen Rd., Crump Station, 949 E.H. Crump Blvd., Raines Station, 791 East Raines, and Airways Station, 2234 Truitt St.