PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Who are the the best amateur fighters in the state? We will find out this weekend beginning at 6 on Saturday at the Pascagoula Recreation Center.
Young men from throughout the state are motivated to claim a Mississippi Golden Gloves Boxing championship.
Seven members of the Keith Hughes Boxing Club in Ocean Springs are preparing to do what it takes to claim a boxing title. They were fine tuning their skills Tuesday night, optimistic they can knock-off the state's best competition.
Boxing coach Keith Hughes said, "Keep an eye on 9-year-old Augustine Lopez, a student at St. Martin Elementary."
Lopez is a defending Golden Gloves champion and he says coach Hughes has been an inspiration.
Lopez said, "He has taught me for the last three years. So, I get a lot of coaching from him."
I asked Lopez if he feels confident heading into Saturday's showdown in the ring? He said, "Yes sir, because I already won it once."
Coach Hughes said, " Augustine has been to a national tournament at 8-years-old and he's ranked in the nation. This kid can fight. He just made nine and he'll get better as he gets older."
So what makes Lopez a champion? "He's mean and tough, "stated Hughes. "He's got more heart than any kid you'll ever know. He's all muscled up. You've got to watch him. The kid kid can fight."
Tickets for the 2017 Mississippi Golden Gloves is $10. Kids under six-years-old will be admitted free at the Pascagoula Recreation Center on Pascagoula Street.