Rumble from the Rock, a Fort Mill boxing event, will take place Saturday, July 26, at Comenius School for Creative Leadership.
The first fight will begin at 3 p.m. Boxing gyms from Rock Hill and York will put local fighters back in the ring, or give newbies their first taste of amateur boxing.
Coach Alonzo Lumpkin, of Rock Hill Boxing Academy, and Coach Mario Noviello, of Light Bright Boxing, will host the event.
Lumpkin coaches his fighters at Emmett Scott Center on Crawford Road in Rock Hill. He said the center has been open since the early 1990s. He has been coaching for four years, but he started off as boxer in 1998.
“A major focus on defense is what makes my boxers different,” Lumpkin said. “In hosting this fight, I expect to rally the families and community of boxers. Boxing is a self-preservation sport, and we definitely need that in today’s times.”
A tenured fighter coming out of Rock Hill is ready for his fourth fight. Chameir Rice, 24, went to Northwestern and South Pointe high schools in Rock Hill.
He is 2-1, and fights at the 152-pound weight class. He has been training with Lumpkin for more than a year.
“I have been boxing my whole life because my dad was a boxer,” Rice said. “I heard about Rock Hill Boxing Academy from a friend, and I kept coming back.”
Rice said the coaching, atmosphere and quality of boxers is why he came back. He feels, after strict training and rest, he will do well in this fight.
“Alonzo is a great coach,” Rice said. “He has good eyes and technique. He coaches us based upon our abilities and individuality, while training all of us.”
The fighter said he’s not nervous to get hit. He said it’s inevitable. He encourages boxers to stay focused and push forward.
Also coming out of Rock Hill Boxing Academy is the most experienced amateur fighter of the group. Reginald Hinson Jr., 19, graduated from Lancaster High School. He is 7-4, and fights at the 141-pound weight class. He has been boxing for three years.
He feels that fighting is his true calling. He said boxing is the best way to stay in top physical condition, and learn discipline. It also gives him a realistic dream to work toward.
“I love the everyday grind I have to put myself through,” Hinson said. “It’s my decision to get in the ring with professionals, take my nicks and bruises, pay my dues and learn from my mistakes. It’s not like other sports, where you can depend on teammates to pick up your slack. Ultimately, it’s all up to you, but that’s what’s beautiful about it.”
He said he would love to represent the United States in the Olympics, in other national and international tournaments and one day become a professional.
“I do everything I can to make it as difficult as possible to hit me, but I also know that getting hit comes with the territory,” Hinson said. “When I get hit, I bite down, get defensively tighter and come back throwing punches. I love to hit my opponent with quality shots.”
Hinson looks forward to the event.
“I definitely think this is going to be a great show for the local area,” Hinson said. “I’m confident this event will increase interest in boxing and also earn our gym a lot of fans and support. I’m glad to be able to represent our area in a positive way while doing what I love to do the most. I want to thank my coach, teammates, dad and anyone else contributing to this event.”
Coach Noviello, of Light Bright Boxing gym, teaches his fighters out of his garage, but plans to expand as the demand grows. He will have five fighters stepping into the ring. Four fighters will take on their first opponent.
Noviello, 29, has been coaching for almost three years. The coach, who fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom, started boxing when he was in the Army.
“I am super excited to host, to my knowledge, the first USA Boxing event in Fort Mill,” Noviello said. “It has always been a dream to coach and promote boxing.”
One of the veteran’s boxers is training in hopes of becoming 3-0. Ray Romero, 21, a Rock Hill High School graduate, will fight at the 141-pound weight class. Romero has been sparring with teammates weekly.
“I don’t mind getting hit because it only makes you more tough,” Romero said. “I have no problem hitting my teammates because that just makes us better.”
Another team member, Jason Shackelford, 15, is a student at Rock Hill High School. He will fight at the 178-pound weight class.
“I am nervous, but I know when I get in the ring, I will box my opponent with no fear,” Shackelford said. “Having heart, and never giving up is very big in boxing.”
Also fighting for Team Light Bright will be Trevor Caughman at 178 pounds, Princeton Franklin at 145 pounds and Nick Kennedy at 152 pounds.
Noviello is having his fighters train by jumping rope, shadow boxing, sparring and more. He said Romero is a great fighter who listens well and “hits with bricks in his gloves.”
He said Shackelford is a young fighter who loves to learn boxing, and will continue to develop power, particularly in his right-handed punch.
“Train like your life depends on it,” Noviello said. “My advice to new and tenured fighters is boxing is a great sport that will help you to develop you mentally, physically and teach you the hard lessons of working so hard for something that you really want.”