The Hopkinsville Boxing Club is putting on an event right here in Hoptown with a big guest set to make an appearance.

HBC is hosting the "Gloves up, Guns down" boxing event at the Planter's Bank-Jennie Stuart Health Sportsplex Hopkinsville this afternoon, where local boxers will put on a show for the community for the night.

Anthony Wimpye, the coach of the HBC, said there will be six other teams in attendance for the event and is happy to have the opportunity to host a boxing event here in Hopkinsville.

"It's something I ran though the mayor, Carter Hendricks, and he decided it was a good idea working with the kids," Wimpye said. "He's the one who helped me and the organization get associated with the Sportplex out there. We were able to get some agreement to get some shows there."

Along with the boxers in attendance, Alton Merkerson will be a special guest.

Merkerson is most known for being the trainer/coach for hall of fame boxer Roy Jones Jr. and was Wimpye's boxing coach in the 1970s.

"(He) was my coach in 1975 at Fort Campbell. He left Fort Campbell to pursue his promotional career as a coach and went on to make history with Roy Jones Jr.," he said. "He's always been a real prospect of friendship as well as a well-renowned coach in the game of boxing because of the accomplishments he made. He was a boxing coach in the army.

"He's almost like a bigger brother to me."

The 12-fight card will feature boxers from age eight all the way up to the professional level. Wimpye is hoping for a good turnout this afternoon in hopes to have another event in Hoptown in the future.

"We're hoping we get good support of people to come and support this or I don't know if we would be able to have another one here in Hopkinsville," he said. "The community has to make these types of events happen in order for them to want to say, 'We'll come back.'"

Entry is $12 for anyone interested in watching the event, but all military will get free admission.

"I know what they've been through and I know what they're actually doing for this country down in Fort Campbell and other forts," Wimpye said. "Retired veterans, they deserve appreciation for anything that we do for the boxing club because that's where I started boxing, in the military."

Wimpye said the club is bigger than boxing as well. He wants to make sure the kids that are in his club are also prepared to be the most successful they can be when they grow up and become adults.

"The main objective of this thing is about the kids," Wimpye said. "It's helping the kids get off the street, finding other alternatives … We're not all about boxing. We're about preparing these kids for the future."

Doors open at the Sportsplex this afternoon at 4 p.m. with the event starting at 5 p.m.

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