Don King returns home to northeast Ohio, staging championship night of boxing on Saturday

WARREN, Ohio — Legendary boxing promoter and Cleveland native Don King is returning to his northeast Ohio roots on Saturday night, hosting a championship night of boxing at the WD Packard Music Hall in Warren.

“It’s going to be a great, super night of boxing,” King said during a press conference last week. “There will be six championship fights and two world titles. We are going to put fun back into boxing. It’s going to be super, spectacular greatness. We are going to enjoy ourselves again and not be ruined by COVID.”

Throughout his career, King has promoted bouts headlined by some of the most prominent names in boxing. In 1972 King started his career in his hometown, convincing Muhammad Ali to fight in a charity exhibition in Cleveland. Before that, King was running numbers for the illegal lottery in the city, something he acknowledged at his press conference last week.

“Ali came in and brought five or six guys to Cleveland, Ohio, to start me off with boxing,” King said. “I was running numbers in Cleveland.”

Two years later, King promoted a heavyweight championship fight known as “The Rumble in the Jungle” between Ali and George Foreman in Zaire. In 1975, he also promoted the “Thrilla in Manila,” the third and final fight between Ali and Joe Frazier.

Don King Promotions will present a six-championship fight card on Saturday night. Doors open at 6 pm with the first fight slated for 7 pm

The co-main events will feature two World Championships. Ilunga Makabu (28-2 with 25 knockouts) of South Africa will defend his WBC World Cruiserweight Championship against Thabiso Mchunu (23-5, 13 KOs) of South Africa. The other co-main event will pit WBA World Heavyweight Champion Trevor Bryan (21-0, 15 KOs) of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. against Jonathan Guidry (17-0-2, 10 KOs) of Dulca, La.

“Not a lot of people can say they fought on a Don King card,” Guidry said at a press conference last week. “I am glad he has given me the opportunity to fight for the world title. Like Don says, he loves giving the people the opportunity to show their talent. Without that opportunity, I would still be on a shrimp boat.”

King has four other NABA titles on the line as well on Saturday.

The NABA Gold Heavyweight championship will pit veteran Alonzo Butler (34-3-2, 25 KOs) from Chattanooga, Tenn. against Ahmed Hefny (13-1, 5 KOs) from Egypt, via Queens, NY

The NABA Cruiserweight title clash will feature Johnnie Langston (9-3, 3 KOs) of Sarasota, Fla. and Nick Kisner (22-5-1, 6 KOs) of Baltimore.

The NABA Middleweight Championship will be up for grabs as Cleveland’s Michael Moore (18-3, 8 KOs) will take on Anthony Lenk (17-7, 7 KOs) of Niagara Falls, NY

The sixth and final title fight of the night will showcase Cody Wilson (10-3, 7 KOs) of West Virginia and Tre’Sean Wiggins (12-5-3, 6 KOs) of Newburgh, NY battling for the NABA Welterweight championship.

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster or via WD Packard Music Hall at 330-841-2619. The tickets will be priced at $550, $350, $250, $175 and $80. The fights will be available on Donking.com, DKPBoxing.com or itube247.com. Retail price is $49.99.

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