Plenty of crowd-luring events have been held at the Huntington Center in downtown Toledo.
Circus acts, concerts, and, of course, sporting events such as Toledo Walleye hockey games have kept the turnstiles moving since the entertainment venue opened its doors in 2009.
Yet, the first three years of existence for the 8,000-seat multi-purpose facility never involved professional boxing events in a city with a long history of producing fighters.
That changes on April 28 when Monroe native Bronco "Superman" McKart (53-9) headlines a scheduled seven-bout professional boxing card being billed as Toledo Fight Night.
McKart is the reigning UBO middleweight world champion and looks to defend his title against Boston resident Jose Medina.
It stands as McKart's first defense of the title he claimed in 2010. The 41-year-old boxer expects to put on a good performance before a hometown crowd.
"I pride myself on coming into fights in great condition, and I'm coming in with the will to win," McKart said. "I'm sure he is too.
"It's going to be exciting."
- When: April 28th, 7:30 p.m.
- Where: Huntington Center
- General info: Seven professional bouts are slated for the first boxing card to be held at the Huntington Center. Monroe native Bronco "Superman" McKart (53-9) headlines the night by defending his UBO Middleweight World Championship belt. Tickets can be purchased at the Huntington Center box office and are available at ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
- Free seats are also available for U.S. Military veterans and those actively serving. For more information, call 419-699-3439 or go online to heroesinaction.org.
Toledoan Ed Wahl will make his professional boxing debut. A nine-time Toledo Golden Glove champion and three-time National silver glove champ, Wahl, has an amateur record of 158-12.
Toledo attorney Marty McManus has worked in conjunction with Detroit's Tommy "The Hitman" Hearns, Turner Boxing Productions, and the Huntington Center to put together the fight card.
Hearns is expected to be in attendance.
A major part of the event is being geared to recognize the United States military, according to McManus, whose Knockout Entertainment boxing group last held a boxing card seven years ago at the former Toledo Sports Arena.
A number of seats will be available for free for active duty and military veterans.
Also, McManus said all of the proceeds will be donated to Mikie's Minutes and Heroes In Action, two programs created to benefit military families and individuals.
Mikie's Minutes is a program established in honor of Monroe native Sgt. Michael Ingram, Jr., who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Mikie's Minutes provides prepaid calling cards to military families.
"It's all being done to say thank you to our troops and thank you for all of your sacrifices," McManus said.
Huntington Center general manager Steve Miller said discussions to hold the first boxing card at the downtown arena began about six months ago. He said interest in the event has been good and most of the ringside seats have already been sold.
Miller is optimistic about the event leading to even more dates for boxing cards at the Huntington Center.
"I think if we're able to have some strong support, we'll try to bring things like this back," Miller said.
McKart, who knew Ingram dating back to when the soldier was an 8-year-old growing up in Monroe, feels honored to be headlining the boxing card.
"To be able to give back in a small way with the calling cards and the free seats (for military members), that's exciting for me," McKart said.
Contact Donald Emmons at: email@example.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.