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Sharpsburg trainer champions local boxers at Millvale fight

Marty Stewart
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Sharpsburg’s Jose Caraballo, a former boxer and current trainer, poses with Shaler boxer Rian Dougherty.
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Sharpsburg’s Jose Caraballo, a former boxer and current trainer, poses with Millvale boxer Colleen Davis.
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Sharpsburg’s Jose Caraballo, a former boxer and current trainer, poses with Shaler boxer Rian Dougherty.

Boxing fans might want to head to Millvale on Feb. 23.

Ray Schafer Boxing Association will present Road to Nationals Golden Glove Boxing at VFW Post 118 on 605 North Ave.

Sharpsburg’s Jose Caraballo, a trainer and former boxer, is promoting the event.

“One of the reasons we’re holding it in Millvale is because that’s where one of our boxers, Colleen Davis, is from,” Caraballo said.

The 27-year-old Davis is a three-time Pittsburgh Golden Gloves champion and a two-time Pennsylvania state champion.

“There’s real boxing history in Millvale,” Caraballo said. “Great boxers like Fritzie Zivic fought there. He fought at Hickey Park. And now Colleen gets a shot. She will be fighting the national silver medalist, Maria Antunez, who is also a decorated champion. There will be 10-12 fights, with most of them being Golden Glove matches mixed with a few exciting nontournament fights.”

Other local fighters on the card are 14-year old Rian Dougherty of Shaler, a two-time Pittsburgh Golden Gloves champ, and 14-year-old Madeline Meire of Hampton/Gibsonia.

There also will be some notables in the crowd.

Actor/producer James Quinn (“The Dark Knight Rises,” “No Knock List,” “Sandman”), Pittsburgh filmmaker/producer Jillian O’Neal (“Sandman”) and Pittsburgh actor Eddie Holiday (“Sandman”) will be ringside. Also in attendance will be 10-time amateur champion Verquan “The Show” Kimbrough.

Caraballo, who had a role in the film “Southpaw” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, also appears in “Sandman,” which was released in 2018.

“It was a great time working on both films. I got to meet some great people, and it was a lot of fun,” Caraballo said. “I’ve been fortunate to get opportunities to work as a consultant in boxing films, too.”

He has spent time getting kids interested in boxing and training them at Ray Schafer Gym in Sharpsburg.

“I want to try to keep kids in Sharpsburg off of the streets and welcome any and all of them to give boxing a shot,” he said. “It’s something that builds discipline. It’s not easy, but in the end, it makes you a better person.

“This year, we have about 16 guys and girls training. Our program has been very successful in many ways. We keep the kids busy and build champions. Colleen came through our program over the last six years and will be turning professional late in the year. A special thank you goes out to Jimmy Cvetic for keeping boxing alive over the past 40 years in Pittsburgh.”

The lounge will open at 5 p.m. on the night of the fight, with doors opening at 6:15 and the first fight starting at 7. General admission is $20 with ringside seats at $30. Kids under 11 are $10, and sponsorship tables are available. For more information, call 412-853-4704 or email [email protected] Tickets are available at the door.

Marty Stewart is a freelance writer.