Sports

“Flash” Johnson reviving boxing event at JJK Center Saturday

Arther “Flash” Johnson helps Belleville boxer Keeion Anderson adjust his headgear. Anderson will fight in one of the main events at Johnson’s revived amateur boxing invitational, Saturday at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in East St. Louis, Saturday at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Arther “Flash” Johnson helps Belleville boxer Keeion Anderson adjust his headgear. Anderson will fight in one of the main events at Johnson’s revived amateur boxing invitational, Saturday at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in East St. Louis, Saturday at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. snagy@bnd.com

The Arthur "Flash" Johnson Annual Boxing Invitational returns to the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in East St.Louis after a seven-year hiatus on Saturday starting at 7 p.m.

The amateur boxing event was started by its namesake and local boxing icon in 2001, but was put on hold after Johnson was diagnosed with cancer.

"We started the foundation in 2001 and had it three other times in Cahokia and in O'Fallon once," said the former pro bantam and featherweight title holder. " It was shortly after that. I got ill in 2008 with cancer.

"I was fighting for my life, which changes the course of things. But we're back on track now."

Johnson's aim is to introduce interested athletes to the sport and to garner interest in amateur boxing in the metro east.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with a $10 admission charge.

"Simply put, if you never seen amateur boxing before, they'll experience something they've never expected," Johnson said. "It'll leave an impression, especially at the 65-pound range, because they have such great skill."

There will be 11 three-round bouts involving 22 boxers, mostly from the St. Louis region. Johnson will be introducing fighting to his own students, including Dezmonn Nixon, Christopher Taylor and Carlton Richardson. All three reside in Washington Park and will be participating in their first fights.

Keeion Anderson of Belleville and super-heavyweight Henry Dorsey of Washington Park, also are on the card.

"Henry is the main event because he's competing against the guy who beat him in the Golden Gloves," Johnson said. "I think that kind of fight is worthy of (main event) status."

Johnson, who grew up in East St. Louis, owns seven Gold Glove titles and was a member of the U.S. Olympic boxing team in Seoul. He was the first boxer to win a gold medal at the Goodwill Games. He retired from his professional career with a record of 22-6 with 14 knockouts.

Sports Editor Todd Eschman can be reached at teschman@bnd.com or 239-2540. Follow him on Twitter: @tceschman.

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