The Sweet Science Returns to Richmond: An Epic Clash in the Heart of Virginia

by | May 13, 2023 | COMMUNITY, SPORTS

Now, ladies and gents, you’ve got to harken back to understand the pugilistic history of Virginia. It’s a tale spun with the grit of steel-jawed fighters and the golden age of boxing at the University of Virginia in the 1930s. It’s not just a story; it’s a saga, a chronicle of sweat, leather, and the sweet science of bruising.

Once upon a time, UVA was the mecca of Virginia boxing, with the only team to stay undefeated for consecutive seasons from 1932 to 1936. Coach Johnny LaRowe, that stalwart of the ring, built UVA into a national powerhouse. The student body would turn out in droves, the gym filled to the rafters, basking in the team’s glory while the football team, bless their hearts, could only manage a couple of winning seasons that decade.

'Road to Glory' Richmond Championship Boxing
Virginia great Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whittaker

Virginia has had her share of notable boxers, no doubt about that, with Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker who hailed from Norfolk, Virginia, standing toe-to-toe with the best of them. But, Richmond, the heart of Virginia, has been quiet on the boxing front, a sleeping giant waiting for the bell to ring.

Well, that bell’s about to toll, folks.

'Road to Glory' Richmond Championship Boxing

Come Friday, May 19th, professional boxing is returning to Richmond with “Road to Glory“, a star-studded event produced by Eric Ash of Richmond’s Vintage Boxing Gym and Elizabeth Cane of River City Promotions, that promises to pack more punch than a double bourbon on the rocks. We’re talking eight professional bouts, topped off by a WBC International Championship Fight.

In one corner, we’ve got current WBC International Champion Ermal ‘The Sniper’ Hadribeaj, a southpaw with a record as clean as a whistle – 15 wins, 0 losses, and 1 draw, with 7 of those victories coming by way of knockout. Hailing from Albania and training out of the World Famous Boxr Gym in Miami Beach, Florida,  known as the training ground where Mohamed Ali cemented his greatness, the guy has got a reputation for accuracy that’d make a marksman blush.

His opponent, Leonardo Di Stefano Ruiz, is a Spanish-Italian dynamo with a 11-1 record with 10 wins coming by knockout . He’s the current GBU European Champion and WBF Eurasia Champion, fighting in the super welterweight category up to 70 kg. He is fast, and in boxing, speed kills. Despite his recent loss, he’s a bouncing back, ready to prove his mettle in the ring.

The “Road to Glory” is set to be the biggest boxing event in Richmond’s history, and the city’s rolling out the red carpet. The Renaissance in Downtown Richmond is playing host, and they’re pulling out all the stops. Live DJ, food, drinks, VIP balcony seating, and an afterparty at the River-City Roll, where the only punches being thrown will be in the drink.

Doors open at 5:30 pm, first bout is scheduled for 7:00 pm, and folks, we’re in for a night to remember. So grab your tickets, because it’s not just a fight; it’s history in the making. Richmond’s stepping back into the ring, ready to reclaim its boxing heritage, and let me tell you, it’s going to be a knockout.

Buy your tickets HERE
You can live stream the fight on FITE HERE

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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