Local boxers set to compete in Christy Martin Title Belt Tournament

15 1Boxing is a sport that takes a lot of practice, determination and heart. Amateur boxing is a lot like checkers - you never know who you will be competing against, says local boxing coach Juan Verdejo. Professional boxing is like chess because the boxers have time to plan and strategize for their competitors.

When he trains young boxers at Burgess Boxing & Fitness in Spring Lake, Verdejo said he focuses on speed and endurance. With growth and experience comes control. Verdejo said that speed and control are important because throwing random punches might not land any hits. But endurance helps carry you through the fight.

“Throw a combo and get out, don’t stick around for the other guy to learn your moves and get hits in,” Verdejo said.

This is a training focus Coach Verdejo uses when preparing boxers for bouts, like the upcoming Christy Martin Title Belt Tournament scheduled for July 23-25.

Burgess Boxing & Fitness owner Tony Burgess said he only likes his fighters to fight twice a month because the sport takes a toll on the body. He wants to make sure that his boxers get plenty of rest and recovery. COVID restricted several boxing tournaments and training schedules in the last year, and some gyms shut down. Burgess and Verdejo are glad to see competitions restarting as more pandemic restrictions are being lifted.

“My favorite fights to see are little kids and the girls because they really get in there and fight. There isn’t a lot of dancing around,” said Burgess.

His gym offers training to all interested in learning the sport of boxing. Participating in tournaments in not required, but many do. Verdejo said he enjoys helping young boxers learn and participate. For many, boxing is an outlet that gives them purpose and a positive outlet.

The Christy Martin Title Belt Tournament will take place July 23-25 at Freedom Courts Sportsplex located at 3126 Gillespie St. in Fayetteville. Local boxers will have the opportunity to compete against other amateur boxers from across the state.

The public is invited to attend the tournament. For more information call 910-890-5534.

The tournament is named for Christy Martin, a worldwide sensation in the boxing ring. Martin is often credited with legitimizing women’s boxing. Martin had 49 wins (31 by knockout) when her then-husband and trainer, Jim, put her in the fight of her life. In 2010, he attacked Christy in their home when she tried to leave him. Jim stabbed Christy several times and shot her. Christy was able to get out of the house and flag down a passing motorist who took her to the hospital. Christy survived and was able to testify against Jim, helping to convict him. Jim remains in prison in Florida.

Christy Martin will be in Fayetteville this week and is scheduled to speak at Rape Crisis of Cumberland County. The public is invited to hear her story of survival at 6 p.m. on July 22. Rape Crisis of Cumberland County is located at 519 Ramsey St.

Pictured above: (Left) Gym owner Tony Burgess, far right, poses with a fighter and training team after a bout.

Pictured Below: (Right) Coach Juan Verdejo, on right, trains boxers of all ages to compete in the ring.


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Local fencing academy open to all

22 Max Greene faces Greensboros Emery AlexanderFencing is not a sport targeted toward any particular age, gender or social status, and Coach Gerhard Guevarra believes it offers a place for everyone.

The All-American Fencing Academy of Fayetteville offers great opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to learn the sport of fencing.

“Our academy is not some big sports program, this is a place for people of all different athletic backgrounds,” said Coach Guevarra, also the owner of the Academy. “Most people come to us because their child or themselves wanted to do fencing and didn’t know there was a spot in Fayetteville to do that. All we can say for those who don’t know fencing or are skeptical about it, ‘hey come try it out,’” he said.

The All-American Fencing Academy is an official registered school of USA Fencing and the North Carolina Division of USA Fencing.

Guevarra has been coaching since 1999, and brought fencing to Fayetteville through the Pine Forrest Recreational Center. In 2008, he moved the program downtown to open his fencing studio, the All-American Fencing Academy. Guevarra continues to compete nationally and internationally. He competed in the 2006 Vancouver World Cup and has won several North Carolina Division Championships.

Students at the Academy can compete locally, regionally and nationally. Some have qualified for National Championships and some have qualified for Junior Olympics. Some fencers have been recruited and continue to fence for Division I, II, and III university fencing teams.

The All-American Fencing Academy currently has between 30 to 40 students ranging from the lowest age of 7 up to students in their 60s. The beginner classes start on the first week of the month and are for those who have never fenced before. This class teaches the basics, history and proper blade work for fencing. There is a membership option for students who want to continue to pursue fencing, which offers one scheduled class and additional open fencing nights.

The Academy also offers a class for adult learners too — the 40+ class — for those who are interested in the art of fencing but didn’t realize it until later in life.
Private lessons are available based on coach availability.

For those who are just looking for something new and fun to do in Fayetteville, or maybe want to learn more about fencing before committing to a class, the Academy offers a Fourth Friday walk-in class every month, except July. Anyone ages 7 and older can participate for just $10 a student.

All-American Fencing is located at 207B Donaldson St. in downtown Fayetteville. For more information call 910-644-0137, email info@allamericanfencing.com or visit www.allamericanfencing.com/#welcome.

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Free events at Clark Park help kids learn about nature

15 DSC 0515Fayetteville Cumberland County Parks & Recreation offers a number of activities to get out and enjoy nature. Clark Park & Nature Center is located at 631 Sherman Drive. For more information call 910-433-1579.

Bug Safari at StoryWalk® Clark Park
Explore reading along a stretch of trail near the playground. Stands tell the story of “Bug Safari” by Bob Barner. Funded by the Women’s Giving Circle of Cumberland County, a fund of Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc. Available Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to sunset. Free and suitable for ages 3-6.

Small Wonders From the Mountains to the Sea: A Diorama of Miniatures by Wildlife Artist Joe Morgan
Find all the tiny critters nestled in this work of art and take home a prize. Available during Center Hours: Available Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free and suitable for all ages.

Animal Feedings
Alligators chomping, snakes swallowing, and turtles snapping, come see what is for dinner at the nature center. Call to register. Wednesdays on July 21, 28 and Aug. 4, 11 from 3-4 p.m. Free and suitable for all ages.

Marvels of Moths
While butterflies may be better known, after the sun goes down the night belongs to their relatives, the moths. There are far more species of moths than butterflies and they live fascinating lives. Learn about the importance of moths in the environment, how they survive, and about some of the many different kinds that call North Carolina home. Part of National Moth Week and Moth Night. Call to register. Saturday, July 24 from 7-8 p.m. Free and suitable for all ages.

Moth Night!
Clark Park’s woods often yield giant silkworm moths like the Luna and Polyphemus. Come hear about how moths differ from butterflies, how to attract and trap moths for identification and study, and see what we can catch at Clark on this night. Moth Night is part of National Moth Week, a celebration of moth diversity, beauty, life cycles and habitats. Call to register. Saturday, July 24 from 8-10 p.m. Free and suitable for all ages.

Homeschool Discovery Series: Reptiles and Amphibians
These free programs are designed with homeschoolers in mind to help supplement their curriculum. Call to register. On Aug. 5 from 10-11:30 a.m. discover what makes reptiles different from amphibians through this hands-on experience.

For more information on what programs and events are available at parks throughout Fayetteville and Cumberland County visit www.fcpr.us/

National Day of the Cowboy events scheduled at 7 Branch Farm

17 IMGL0435The National Day of the Cowboy is one where people can remember and celebrate America’s cowboy culture and pioneer heritage. Recognized on the fourth Saturday in July, National Day of the Cowboy honors the American cowboy, often a symbol of freedom and adventure. Created in 2005 by the National Day of the Cowboy Organization, the day celebrates cowboy culture in the American West associated with the years following the Civil War.

One of the important jobs performed by 19th-century cowboys was to drive cattle from Texas northward to Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming. At the time there wasn’t a direct railway line that connected Texas with the Northern and Eastern portions of the U.S. Cowboys often used cattle trails to move up to 3,000 heads of cattle at a time.

Cowboys would move cattle along the cattle trails to the towns known as cow towns in Kansas. They would also use the Chisholm Trail to move cattle north of the Mexican border to Abilene. Other trails included the Shawnee Trail that led to St. Louis, and the Great Western Trail that led to Dodge City.

National Day of the Cowboy recognizes that cowboys were more than just cattle herders. They were people who truly loved adventure and the land. Cowboys were often seen as loyal and willing to work hard.

The folks at 7 Branch Farm in Lumber Bridge continue to celebrate the American cowboy each year. The public is invited to join 7 Branch’s seventh annual National Day of the Cowboy event on July 23 and 24. The 7 Branch Arena hosts the only sanctioned professional rodeo close to the Fayetteville area. The event will show what it truly means to be a cowboy/cowgirl and to live by the code.

The rodeo will recreate events from the Old American West including bucking horses, calf roping, mounted shooting and more. This year the rodeo is bringing back barrel races where professionally skilled horseback riders attempt to run a cloverleaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time. There are estimated to be about 100 competitors in this year’s rodeo. The preshow event will take place at 5:30 p.m. with live entertainment from country singer/ songwriter Tyler Tew. There will also be bounce houses, pony rides and more from the kids. The main show will start at 8:00 p.m.

This year, like others in the past, tickets are selling fast. “We encourage rodeo fans, and those wanting to come out to purchase tickets online and get here early,” said Buddy Blackman. The rodeo will have bleachers but will fill up quickly, so people are more than welcome to pull up a chair in the lawn seating area. This event is family-friendly, so no alcohol will be sold or permitted on the property.

7 Branch was started by Blackman’s father, Ron Payne. The family-run farm started with only eight acres. Today, 7 Branch has 30-plus acres and hosts several rodeos and training events every year. When approached by the National Day of the Cowboy Organization to start a rodeo in North Carolina, there was no hesitation for 7 Branch. Part of the rodeo’s proceeds benefits Cape Fear Valley’s Friends of the Cancer Center, which 7 Branch has supported for several years.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.dayofthecowboync.com or at the gate. Tickets are $15 per person, and kids 3 years old and under get in free. 7 Branch Arena is located just outside Hope Mills at 62 McGougan Road in Lumber Bridge. For more information, call 910-813-7881.

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Next Rock'n On The River concert features vocal powerhouses

10 rockn logo jpegThe Rock’n On The River concert series continues in July with two bands that are sure to keep the audience singing and dancing along. The July 16 show will feature Joyner, Young & Marie at 6 p.m. and Heart Breaker at 8:15 p.m. Both groups are known for vocal powerhouse performances of rock ‘n’ roll hits.

Bill Joyner, Dan Young and Marie Grimsley make up Joyner, Young & Marie, a local band that has been performing for more than 30 years. No stranger to area festivals and events, Joyner, Young & Marie performs their own music and covers of rock ‘n’ roll hits from the likes of Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton and Aretha Franklin, among many.

“My favorite memory with the band was when our song ‘Live the Blues’ from our first CD ‘Full Circle’ made number one in the beach charts and got to perform at the Cammy Awards [Carolina Beach Music Awards],” said lead singer Marie Grimsley. The band is currently working on releasing another CD in the near future. Grimsley said the band enjoys performing together and bringing back the rock hits that everyone knows and enjoys.

Also performing will be Heart Breaker, a Heart tribute band, featuring Staci McBeth and Joan Burton, backed by a talented band of musicians. Although based in North Carolina, Heart Breaker tours nationally with the goal of playing each song with respect and true passion for the original. They not only perform the Heart classics such as “Alone,” “What About Love,” and crowd favorite “Barracuda,” but they also give the audience a taste of Led Zeppelin hits that Heart often played on tour as well.
The Rock’n On The River concert series was created in 2015 starting with three shows. The popularity of the series and demand for live entertainment helped increase the number of shows each season. This year, the series has been hosting a concert each month from May until October.

Each concert this season showcases a different genre of music, bringing together different crowds of people for a good time with friends and family. Rock’n On The River is located at 1122 Person St. in Fayetteville, (behind Deep Creek Grill).

Parking for the event opens at 5 p.m. and the show begins at 6 p.m. Parking costs $5 per person in each vehicle. Outside food and beverages are prohibited, but can be purchases on site. Pets are also not allowed onto the concert grounds.

Rock’n On The River is a free event sponsored by Healy Wholesale, Bob 96.5 FM radio, and Up & Coming Weekly.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/Rockn-On-The-River-271048666818630/

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