June 8, 2018 10:56:12 AM
Shawn Gates is spreading the word.
After having success in January with the inaugural Friendly City Boxing Night at the Trotter Convention Center in Columbus, Gates admits he was surprised to hear a lot of people in the Greater Golden Triangle area didn't know about the event.
"There have been a lot of people who have told me, 'We would have been there if we knew you had a fight because we love boxing,' " Gates said.
That's why Gates has been spreading the word as he travels throughout the Golden Triangle and into Noxubee, Monroe, and Winston counties to make sure as many people know about the next event -- Friendly City Boxing Reloaded -- he and Oliver Miller are holding at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at the Trotter Convention Center.
"People love MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and boxing," Gates said. "MMA is a different art than boxing, but it is all wonderful to me."
Gates said 600-700 people showed up for the six-fight card in January. He said he was pleased with the results and the turnout for his first attempt at being a promoter and organizer for a sport he loves. The June 16 card will feature 10 boxing matches and will serve to honor the memory of boxer Shannon Miller, who also is known as Shannon Reed, who died in May due to an apparent heart attack. Gates said event organizers will ring the bell nine times in Shannon's memory and Oliver Miller, his father, will say a few words about Shannon.
Gates hopes the advance work he is doing will help raise the profile of the event and draw a bigger crowd. He said he has been using social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to help spread the news.
"I would like to sell it out," Gates said. "It is Father's Day weekend and fathers and sons can come out and have a good time."
The card will feature fights in different weight classes. Charles Harris, a boxer from Columbus, will be on the card. Deion Nicholson, from Tuscaloosa Skyy Boxing, will take on Anthony Greeley in a middleweight bout that will serve as the main event.
"I just want to do something good for Columbus," Gates said. "I want our people to come out and support us. It is something kids can get into."
Gates praised the support he has received from Jake Reeves, of Relentless MMA in Columbus, his father, Greg Gates, and Oliver Miller as well as the assistance of the Trotter Convention Center for helping him put on the event. He said the next boxing event will be in November. He hopes an even bigger crowd for the card in June will help him move closer to selling out the Trotter and allow him to examine the possibility of finding an even bigger venue.
"I just want to show thanks to Oliver Miller," Gates said. "He has been like a second dad to me and has helped me my whole life in boxing. I just hope to grow the relationship and to bring more boxing events to Columbus."
Tables that will seat 10 people can be purchased for $500. Preferred floor seating tickets are $30, while upper level tickets are $20. Beer also will be served.
There will be a pre-fight weigh-in Friday, June 15, at Buffalo Wild Wings on Highway 45 in Columbus.
Gates, a 2004 graduate of Heritage Academy, was an all-area and all-conference pick on the team that was state runner-up in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), which known at the time as the Mississippi Private School Association (MPSA). He went on to play football for one season and to coach one season at East Mississippi Community College. He also played football at North Greenville University (S.C.) in 2006.
In 2007, Gates worked as an assistant coach at Heritage Academy before moving on to work as an assistant coach for the Mississippi Mudcats, of the American Indoor Football Association, and Immanuel Center for Christian Education, which is now known as Columbus Christian Academy, in Steens.
In 2009, Gates earned a spot in the Georgia Force's camp before the Arena League suspended the 2009 season.
Gates spent two years as football coach at Columbus Christian Academy in 2009-2011. He attended CCA and also worked there as weightlifting instructor.
Gates also has trained as a kickboxer and professional boxer at Miller's Tae-Kwon-Do in Columbus and worked as a personal trainer.
For tickets and more information, call 662-364-3443 or 662-251-1018.
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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