This year’s Boxing for Books event this Sunday is expecting the biggest crowd ever, thanks to celebrity boxers Kevin Davis and Chris Chmiel, according to a news release for the event.
Their bout is the featured fight for the event, which begins at 4 p.m. in the Trimble Elementary School gym in Glouster.
Boxing for Books has been an annual fundraising event since 1975 for the Trimble Local School District, the news release said. Funds generated from this event and others have generated roughly $1.2 million for the district, Sam Jones, the legendary local boxer/boxing coach and founder/organizer of the event, said in the release. Those funds go toward much-needed educational materials for the school district.
Every year, Jones recruits boxers and non-boxers, some as young as 8, to participate in the event. It’s the non-boxers, he said, who typically draw the crowd.
The release said that Davis, superintendent of the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities, is fighting under the name “the Beacon Bomber,” a tribute to Beacon School. Chmiel, an Athens County commissioner, is fighting under the name “Bludgeoner of Blight,” to reflect his work with the Athens County Land Bank.
Although new to the sport, both Davis and Chmiel agreed to risk personal injury and pride for the sake of bringing positive attention and needed resources to Trimble students and for the Trimble/Glouster community, the release said.
“Once I committed to this, I was all in,” Davis said in the release. “I knew I would train hard to represent the ACBDD and the Beacon community well. But I also wanted to have fun with it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. What better way to experience this than by getting involved with such a great cause – supporting students of our county, getting coached by one of the best boxers around in Sam Jones, and working with a great guy like Chris.”
Their match-up has generated a great deal of interest, particularly on social media. Their posts on Facebook have included photos with other public figures from across the county, videos and lots of smack talk, according to the release.
“I’m going to knock the goat cheese out of him,” Davis said in a recent post. (Chmiel is also a goat cheese producer.)
“I’m going to be pounding on (Davis’) nose like a Trimble brick,” countered Chmiel.
It’s all in good fun, both fighters indicated in the release. The friendly competition has been designed to bring attention to the event, and hopefully sell more tickets.
Both Davis and Chmiel have been training for months, according to the release. Their training has made a difference, according to boxing coach Jones.
“I liked to tease them when they first started,” Jones recalled in the release. “When they first started, they were swinging like they were killing snakes or batting at flies. But they were just nervous. They’ve made a lot of progress since they started. It’ll be an even match.”
When asked who he thought had the better chance of winning, Jones gave a response that only a good coach could give:
“It all comes down to who can control what part of the ring. Chris, he’s more set down and slow, but he’s got strength. Kevin, he’s fast and quicker. He’s all around that ring. If Kevin can keep that fight in the middle of the ring, he has the advantage. If Chris gets him back on the ropes, he has the advantage.”
Tables sell for $125 and seat six people. Individual tickets are a suggested donation of $5. Tickets come with a hotdog, drink, and snacks. For more information, look for the Boxing for Books event page on Facebook.