LAS VEGAS, NEV. -- Two of boxing's most gifted voices, legendary Al Bernstein and rising star Crystina Poncher will serve as co-Masters of Ceremonies for the fifth annual Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame induction Dinner and Ceremony, Saturday, August 12. The Induction gala will be held for the third straight year at Caesars Palace, the Legendary Home of Champions.
This will mark the second time around as co-MC's for both Bernstein and Poncher. Bernstein took his spot alongside famed actress Rosie Perez at the 2015 Dinner, while Poncher shined in her role next to ESPN commentator Bernardo Osuna at last year's spectacular.
The Class of 2017 will include Thomas Hearns, who was chosen in the non-Nevada resident boxer category, along with Michael Spinks, Erik Morales, Michael Carbajal, women’s boxing star Lucia Rijker and Salvador Sanchez. Elected in the Nevada resident boxer category was Ken Norton, Leon Spinks and Richie Sandoval.
Chosen in the non-boxer category were referee Davey Pearl, public relations specialist Debbie Munch, promoter Mel Greb, trainer/cut man Rafael Garcia and Nevada Athletic Commission chair Dr. Elias Ghanem.
Norton, Sanchez, Greb and Ghanem will be inducted posthumously.
Bernstein, in his 37th year of television work, is perhaps the most recognizable and respected commentator in boxing. He has called many of the most famous fights in boxing history, working first for ESPN and then with Showtime. He has also authored two boxing books, and appeared in several movies and TV shows. Bernstein has been honored with induction into both the International and Nevada Boxing Halls of Fame.
Poncher has rapidly been carving out her own niche in the sportscasting world. In recent years, her ascent up the TV ladder has included stints with NFL Network, FOX Sports West, Prime Ticket and TruTV. It is her role with Top Rank however, for which she is best known. She provides commentary on international telecasts, and hosts live streams of press conferences, weigh-ins and undercards as well as Top Rank's new critically-acclaimed digital series Camp Life.
Fourteen members of the boxing fraternity will be inducted into the NVBHOF on August 12. The Ceremony/Dinner will culminate a fabulous weekend of activities for the boxing community. On Friday August 11, the NVBHOF will host a Meet and Greet for fans with champions and boxing celebrities, followed at night by the Inductee Party and Annual Awards Presentations. On Saturday morning, August 12, NVBHOF will present an amateur boxing program -- "The WBC Green Belt challenge" -- and then the Induction Gala that night. All of the events will take place at Caesars Palace.
Remaining tickets for all events of the two-day NVBHOF induction weekend, August 11-12, including the gala dinner on Aug. 12, may be purchased at nvbhof.com. They can be purchased separately or as part of a Super VIP ticket, which gains access to all weekend events.
The Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame was founded in 2012 by sportscaster Rich Marotta. It is an IRS 501-c-3 charitable organization with proceeds going to boxing-related causes. Ticket purchases, raffle and silent auction purchases are tax-deductible.
Budding women's boxing superstar, community activist, role model and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Claressa Shields has been bestowed with another honor, as she has been announced as the winner of the 2017 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Award for "Biggest Powerhouse."
In winning the prestigious award, which honors the heaviest hitters, strongest sluggers and unstoppable players in sports each year, Shields beat out a field of such well-known stars as Demarcus Cousins (New Orleans Pelicans), Von Miller (Denver Broncos), David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox) and Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels).
"It is a tremendous honor and great thrill to win the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Award because it comes from the kids," said Claressa Shields. "I work hard every day to show all children that nothing in life is impossible if you believe in yourself. If this kid from Flint can win Olympic gold medals, boxing world championships, and succeed in life, then you can do it too!"
Shields' promoter, Dmitriy Salita, says she deserves all the incredible accolades and honors she's received.
"Claressa is a true champion of the people with her incredible story of overcoming adversity through her own self-belief and determination. Her accomplishments, inside and outside the ring, make Claressa a real-life American hero and an inspiration to every young person."
22-year-old Shields (3-0, 1 KO), from Flint, Michigan, is currently in training for her first world-title shot on August 4 against German star and WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Nikki Adler (16-0, 9 KOs). The 10-round super-middleweight match-up, will be televised live on ShoBox: The New Generation (10 pm ET/PT), and held at MGM Grand Detroit.
The Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards are the only kid-oriented award show focusing on the world's best athletes and each year's greatest sports moments. Held at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, this year's broadcast was once again hosted by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
The winners were chosen predominantly by children's online voting.
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Cruiserweight sensation Sam “The Vanilla Gorilla” Crossed of Greenbelt, Maryland, was triumphant in his first fight back on July, 15, 2017, after breaking his right hand in his last bout in October 2016. Crossed won by fourth round knockout over his most experienced opponent to date, 14-fight veteran James Jones of Nashville, who was on a two-fight win streak. With the win Crossed improves his record to 6-0 with 4 knockouts.
“I felt very relaxed in there and the hand felt great,” Crossed said. “I have been training with Ernesto for the last year and I have learned more in that time than I have learned since I started boxing.” Ernesto Rodriguez in also the trainer of IBF Jr. Middleweight World Champion Jarrett Hurd.
Crossed’s team hopes to get him back in the ring as soon as possible after his eight-month layoff.
“I would like to get him three more fights this year,” Crossed’s manager Mike Walters said. “He’s basically learning on the job. He’s also one of the biggest ticket sellers in the area so I don’t think it will be a problem.”
Crossed has a rabid fan base in the Washington, D.C., area, which was evident on Saturday night as he received arguably the loudest cheers of any boxer on the card and by the number of fans in attendance wearing Vanilla Gorilla logo T-shirts and his signature "Make Boxing Great Again" hats. Dan Rafael of ESPN fame described the fighter as having a “cult like following” in an article he wrote in May 2016.
“I am really amazed by how many fans come out to see me fight,” Crossed said. “I think we would have sold even more tickets had they not been so expensive and in the middle of the summer. A lot of people who normally come out were on vacation.”
A feature on Crossed was on the front page of this past Saturday’s edition of The Washington Post sports page. The publication receives more than 90 million views per month. He also appeared on local television to help promote the event.