There will be shots fired under the pavilion at Saracen Landing this afternoon as Boxing in the Park is scheduled to begin today at 5 p.m., though the shots will be to the body and head as an expected 90 pugilists are expected to attend the event, hosted by Scott Ladd of the Pine Bluff Boxing Club and Laura Hildreth of PB Community Centers.
Ladd said the event is held in part to raise money to continue the efforts of the program through the year while affording his students an opportunity to fight in front of a home crowd.
“We are always the outsiders everywhere we go,” Ladd said. “But this is their hometown and any time you play in front of your home crowd it always helps.”
Ladd will have eight boxers enter the ring with a minimum of 20 bouts on tap, two of which, Donald Griffin and Quincy Means, recently competed in the National Golden Gloves competition in Las Vegas. Mason Wicket, with Golden Gloves regional experience, is also on the fight card.
Ladd said while the trio of accomplished boxers will treat the crowd to quality matches, it could be heavyweight Kendell Jefferson who steals the show.
“Donald and Quincy are pretty much neck in neck as far as talent,” Ladd said. “But Kendell will take the crowd. He is a big guy who packs a big punch.”
Several PBCC fighters will debut at Saracen, including William Townsel, Aterion Terry and Jacorbi Harris while Steven Shultz will attempt to bounce back from his lone bout, which resulted in a loss.
Ladd said Hildreth was primarily responsible for the event being outdoors at Saracen, something he attempted to accomplish in the past but found cutting through political red tape as tough as a 1-2 punch.
“We wanted to do this here before but kept running into snags and it just didn’t pan out,” Ladd said. “Laura has come in and really taken this thing and ran with it. I was leery at first when she said she wanted to be involved. But she has done everything she said she was going to do and more. I don’t think this would have happened without her.”
Tickets can be purchased at the gate — $5 for adults and $3 for youth 18-under with children under 12 admitted free.