BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - More than 400 amateur boxers and families traveled from all over to the Gulf Coast to compete in a three-day-long boxing tournament.
Sugar Bert Boxing is based in Atlanta, but they host different fights to give fighters of all ages, from as young as 8 up to 75, a chance in the ring. Many described boxing as self-discipline and self-defense, and never to judge anyone by their size or appearance.
Sugar Bert CEO was excited for the last day of the tournament because it was time to announce champions.
“This is championship Sunday, this is the best of the best. You got over 400 boxers, over 200 or 300 coaches that have come in. Parents and everybody coming in from all around the world, that has came to this event. They’re coming in to compete for what we consider the WBC to be the best of the best. WBC amateur championship belt,” said Bert Wells.
Wells said the beach and casinos drew him to the Gulf Coast to host this tournament, and it’s also a place for people who want to bring their families along with them.
The amateur boxers are preparing for the junior and summer Olympics.
“A lot of the boxers that you’ll see at the summer Olympics in Tokyo, they’ve come through our program. We’re the grassroots of amateur boxing,” Wells said.
Nataly Zempoaltecaty is a 12-year-old girl from New York, and she hopes to be a professional boxer when she grows up. Zempoaltecaty is a three-time national champion for 80 pounds. She then moved up because there was no one in her bracket who wanted to fight her.
After questioning Nataly what got her into boxing, she said, “My dad always wanted me to learn how to defend myself. So like if I’m in a relationship, I’m not the one that’s like the weakest one.” She went on to say that boxing made her feel empowering.