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Boxing fans start to arrive in Canastota for Hall of Fame Induction Weekend

By GARY LIBERATORE

CANASTOTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The 23rd Annual Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend is underway in Canastota.

The weekend features a variety of activities, including a cocktail reception, banquet, golf tournament, all-boxing collectors' show, parade, public workout sessions by current boxing stars, ringside lectures and the official induction ceremony on the Hall of Fame Museum Grounds honoring the new class of inductees, plus a celebrity lineup of over forty boxing greats of yesterday and today.

This year's inductees include Thomas "Hitman'' Hearns, the first man to win titles in four divisions.

Hearns tops a list of 13 people elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum.

Hearns, who won five titles altogether, compiled a 155-8 amateur record and was 61-5-1 with 48 knockouts as a pro.

Also selected were Mark Johnson, a two-division champion, ring announcer Michael Buffer, trainer Freddie Roach, broadcaster Al Bernstein and journalist Michael Katz.

Posthumous honorees include: Cocoa Kid, Newsboy Brown, Leo Houck, and Jake Kilrain in the old-timer category, promoters Hugh D. McIntosh and Rip Valenti in the non-participant category and James Wharton in the pioneer category.

Friday's activities saw quite a turnout as fans began flocking into town.

Leo Dymowski, of Baltimore Maryland has made the trip for the past 20 years.

"I love boxing, and these days, boxing is not that much in the spotlight," Dymowski said. "So this is just a chance to be immersed in in for three days."

Karen Walton has made the trip with her husband Bill for the past 17 years.

"We have friends that come every year from England, and we all meet here," Walton said. "So it attracts a lot of people from a lot of areas. It's very good for the area, it really is."

For Chris Benedict of Huntington, New York, down on Long Island, it's his 8th straight induction weekend trip.

"To just rub shoulders and shake hands with the guys, you have been idolizing for decades, this is really cool," Benedict said. "Everybody's really friendly, and it's just a great experience to spend some time with them on a personal level."

Here is a list of the events this weekend :

Saturday, June 9

7 a.m.- 3 p.m. Golf Tournament of Champions - Casolwood Golf Course
8:30 a.m. 5K Race, Fun Run - Canastota High School
10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Boxing Autograph Card Show - Canastota High School
11 a.m.-4 p.m. Ringside Lectures - Museum Grounds
1:00 p.m. Celebrity Workout Session - Museum Grounds
5:30-6:30 p.m. VIP "Gala" Cocktail Reception - Greystone Castle
8:00 p.m. Banquet of Champions - Syracuse Oncenter Complex


Sunday, June 10

10:00 a.m. U.S Postal Service Tribute - Museum Grounds
1:00 p.m. Parade of Champions - Downtown District
2:30 p.m. Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony - Museum Grounds

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