And in This Corner…
USA Boxing Championship coming to town
The 2020 USA Boxing National Championship will be held in Shreveport March 25-April 3 at the Shreveport Convention Center. (Originally scheduled for Dec. 5-12.)
“The Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission (SBSC) worked hard to accommodate USA Boxing, making adjustments to their schedule to meet our needs,” said USA Boxing Event Coordinator Taryn Cass. “We feel confident that the new dates will allow us to host a successful event and enable us to provide the experience that our members expect and deserve in a safe environment.”
The virus is not the only factor that has disrupted the event, with Shreveport stepping in to replace Lake Charles as host in September of 2020 after the impact of Hurricane Laura.
“Shreveport-Bossier City will provide good accessibility, weather and hospitality for our members, and their Convention Center will be ideal for the implementation of our #BackToBoxing protocols that are designed to ensure the safety of our boxers, coaches, officials and members of the community,” said Michael Campbell, events and operations manager for USA Boxing.
This year, three extra days of competition have been scheduled to allow for a “soft start” to the event. It will allow boxers, coaches, officials and staff the opportunity to adjust to COVID-19 mitigation procedures, which will be in place. Dr. Shane Barton, chair of orthopedic surgery, and Dr. Peter Seidenberg, chair of family medicine and comprehensive care at LSU Health Shreveport, have partnered with USA Boxing to provide safety protocols for the national championships and have engaged the Center for Emerging Viral Threats at LSU Health Shreveport to handle COVID-19 testing for the event. This strategic partnership in COVID-19 planning will ensure a safe event for the athlete, coaches, parents and the community.
This year’s championships will also have other changes to help provide a safer and easier tournament experience, including staggered checkin days, set late coaches check-in hours, no general weigh-in, as well as a quota for all weight classes. The sessions will also be live-streamed on the www.Teamusa. org/USA-Boxing website.
With capacity restrictions still in place, spectators will be limited, if allowed at all. Fortunately, many local restaurants have agreed to live stream the bouts so that family and fellow athletes can still be a part of the action and cheer on their boxers while supporting local businesses. A full list of live stream locations can be found at https://shreveportbossiersports.com/.
This event is the first stepping stone toward the 2024 Olympic Games Paris, as numerous boxers competing in Shreveport-Bossier City will have their sights on those Olympic Games, including boxers who competed in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing and look to continue into this new quad.
This event will feature 1,000 bouts, with elite, junior/youth and pee-wee divisions. There are 1,600 athletes registered, with almost 300 on the waitlist. Although a large event, the safety of the athletes, coaches, parents and community has and will continue to be at the heart of every decision made. The 2020 USA Boxing National Championships will bring attendees from around the nation to the Shreveport-Bossier area, with a projected economic impact of $2.4 million.
Due to COVID-19 and being the sole USA Boxing tournament in 2021, this year’s National Championships will be an open tournament, with a minimum bout requirement, for pee-wee to elite divisions. Boxers competing in Olympic/International Federation weight divisions in junior, youth and elite age groups will be competing for their place on Team USA’s High-Performance teams.
The Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission and USA Boxing want to thank Matthew’s Beaty and Company CPAs, LLC, SBC Autos, Strawn’s, Northwest Mutual, Ryder Carpet Care, Cintas, Crager Laborde, Airline Drug, Rice and Kendig, Pioneer Comfort Systems, Professional Tax and Accounting Services, Barksdale Federal Credit Union, and local boxing clubs for partnering to make this event possible.
We also would like to thank the Downtown Development Authority for coordinating a downtown effort to welcome these guests to Downtown Shreveport, as well as the Hilton Shreveport, Shreveport Convention Center and the Louisiana Office of Tourism for going above and beyond to accommodate such a prestigious event.
Kelly Wells is the executive director of the of the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission.