Boxing greats from past and present round out the inaugural class of the Alabama Boxing Hall of Fame. Inductees will be:
Pro Boxer: Joe Louis
Amateur Boxer: Deontay Wilder
Old Timer: Petey Sarron
Manager/Trainer/Promoter: Eddie Surrett
Support Personnel: Billy Martin
Joe Louis, born in Lafayette, Alabama was 66-3 with 52 knockouts. He made 25 successful title defenses, a record for the heavyweight division. Known as the “Brown Bomber”, he is listed by boxing experts as one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Deontay Wilder, from Tuscaloosa, won America’s only medal in boxing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He made the Olympic team with just 21 bouts of amateur experience and brought home the Bronze Medal, thus earning the nickname, “The Bronze Bomber,” paying homage to his medal and fellow Alabamian Joe “Brown Bomber” Louis.
Petey Sarron, born in Birmingham, was 102-23-12 with 25 knockouts. He won the World Featherweight Title in 1936 with a 15 round decision over Freddie Miller in Washington D.C. before a crowd of 23,000! He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2016.
Eddie Surrett of Mobile was largely responsible for boxing’s resurgence in Alabama in the 80’s and 90’s, bringing international TV boxing to the Port City. Surrett served as manager, trainer or promoter (and sometimes all three at once) to dozens of excellent fighters, including Pete Taliaferro, James Hughes and Randall Yonker.
Billy Martin of Gadsden was a successful amateur and professional boxer. He also served as a judge and referee for USA Boxing for more than 40 years and was an inaugural member of the reformed Alabama Athletic Commission that was passed by the legislature in 2008.
Yearly amateur awards will also be part of the show. 2016 winners are:
2016 Amateur Boxer of the Year – Money Powell (Fort Mitchell)
2016 Junior Boxer of the Year – (tie) Jadalie Medeiros and Sunshine Ammons (Huntsville)
2016 Master Boxer of the Year – Dr. Ted Cox (Winfield)
2016 Club of the Year – Round 1 (Birmingham)
The Alabama Boxing Hall of Fame is the result of more than two years of work by boxing insiders, historians, media and boxers themselves. The Hall has the support of the Alabama Athletic Commission. Each category had over 50 nominees, which was whittled down to six finalists per category. The panel then selected the winners. Only one person per category per year is inducted.
Inductees will be honored at the Tuscaloosa River Market Friday, May 12, 7 pm as part of a live professional fight card, where they will receive an official induction trophy. Louis and Sarron are deceased but inductees Wilder, Surrett and Martin are expected to attend. The show will feature up and coming local boxers. Tickets to the induction/fight card will be $50 and $100 and will include dinner and the official fight program booklet. Tickets will go on sale soon.