Boxers participating in Pi Kappa Alpha’s (PIKE) 15th annual Fight Night had a chance to scope out their competition at the pre-fight weigh-in last night, held at Q’s Sushi-a-Go-Go on State Street.
While fighters were weighed in the back of the nightclub and restaurant, an announcer to the side of the stage listed their names, weights and heights. Fight Night will feature 16 opponents in eight matches.
Proceeds from the event, held this Friday in the Thunderdome, will go to Say Yes to Kids, an after-school boxing program for underprivileged children, located at the Primo Boxing Club in downtown Santa Barbara. Tickets are available at the A.S. Ticket Office for $7 general admission, and $12 for ringside seating.
A winner at last year’s Fight Night, the 5’9″ Armand Lozano weighed in at 175 lbs. Lozano comes from Ron Johnson’s Boxing and Kickboxing in Santa Barbara.
“I did it last year and they called me back to do it again,” Lozano said. “It’s fun; I like to fight.”
Meanwhile, the fight’s only minor – 17-year-old Brendan Lynch – came in at 138 lbs. with a height of 5’7″. He is another Ron Johnson Boxing and Kickboxing fighter.
“I’ve been training for a while,” he said. “I did it last year – I want to prove myself. I’m used to fighting guys bigger than me, so I’m ready.”
PIKE President Art Madrigal, a third-year law & society major and Fight Night coordinator, said he hopes the weigh-in eases fighters’ doubts about going into the competition.
“The purpose of the weigh-in is to have all the fighters there,” Madrigal said. “It’s a good way to get each other’s weight and make sure they match up accordingly. We do it because we don’t want fighters to go into the fight not knowing what to expect.”
Last year, Madrigal said, PIKE awarded $6,500 to Say Yes to Kids, but that amount varies from year to year.
Jean Pommier, 10-year program director for Say Yes to Kids, said the organization functions as a boxing club for USA amateur competitors, as well as an after-school tutoring program where kids can hang out and stay off the street.
She said the club, which has existed for nearly 20 years, is open from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and has a large base of participants and workers.
“We have an average of 20 to 40 kids a night, six nights a week,” Jean Pommier said. “We’re open to all ages, anywhere from about eight-years-old to 75. We like to make sure the kids are relating to older groups and their own groups and so on.”
Pommier said she is in charge of writing grants, organizing fundraisers, tutoring the children every night and working with families and probation officers.
Joe Pommier, her husband, is the only paid employee as the program’s amateur boxing coach.
“He works with me on taking kids on camping trips so they can have new experiences,” Jean Pommier said.
Jean Pommier said the organization has three to four volunteers – mainly old Say Yes to Kids members – that help with the boxing program or tutoring.
Say Yes to Kids receives most of its financial support through fundraisers, but they also receive grants from the Santa Barbara Foundation. Jean Pommier said Fight Night is only one of the fundraisers that helps the club, and the most the club has received from the event is $9,000.
Since current donations are not enough funding to run the club, she said she has been setting up a booth at the annual Santa Barbara Fiesta celebration downtown for the past four years, selling pazoles, slushies and nachos to raise more money.
“It’s still money we really need so we’re thankful,” she said.
Because she is battling cancer, Jean Pommier said other people help her do the jobs she normally does. She said she loves that PIKE is willing to help a small, nonprofit organization.
“When these young men help us out like this, it’s just an amazing thing,” she said.
Madrigal said he is proud of the work his fraternity does for the charity.
“I think it’s a real good cause,” Madrigal said. “Helping those kids can save someone’s future. I feel us contributing to charity helps a lot.”
Fight Night costs between $22,000 and $25,000 to hold, due to Thunderdome rental expenses, insurance, security, having a doctor ringside, printing of tickets and posters for advertising.
Primo Boxing Club plays a big part in Fight Night by providing the ring, all the equipment such as gloves and headgear, the referees and the judges, Madrigal said.
Last year, Fight Night fell on the same weekend as Mother’s Day and Cinco de Mayo, Madrigal said. This year he planned the event for a weekend when less people go home, hopefully leading to a greater turnout. About 3,800 people attended Fight Night last year.
“Hopefully we’re looking forward to more ticket sales,” Madrigal said.