Three Lancaster boxers will be in Philadelphia on Saturday for the Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Regional Championships.
It's the first Philly fight for Sheldon Supple (2-0) and only his third fight ever, but the 178-pound, sub-novice fighter projected nothing but confidence as he chatted between rounds of sparring at Finefrock & Stumpf Golden Gloves Center earlier this week.
"I work hard and never doubt myself," Supplee said, leaning over the ropes. "Philly doesn't mean nothin', it's just another city."
Zach Pannell (2-1) of Nye's Gym isn't nearly as blasé about Philadelphia, and the reputations of its fighters.
"Philly comes hard," Pannell said of boxers trained in the city.
Naheem Brittain, Pannell's opponent, will definitely do that if his gym's street cred holds true. Brittain, while also a sub-novice with few fights, trains under Raheem Jefferson at Bozy's Dungeon, home gym of the Ennis family of fighters for two generations.
Jaron "Boots" Ennis, the most recent to turn pro (in 2016) has earned a 19-0 record, 17 by knock out, in two years.
But Pannell's been training hard. He's dropped back to part time work in order to focus on fighting, which he does seven days a week.
Jubilant, still, after winning the 152-pound, sub-novice, Central Pennsylvania Golden Gloves championship, Pannell said he feels great.
"I plan to go in there and give it my all," he said.
He can do no less with both a daughter at home who loves his trophy — "she wants one of her own" — and a promise to his father, just before losing him to cancer, that he'd keep fighting and winning.
The most veteran boxer of the Lancaster contingent Saturday is James Bernadin (6-2), a 25-year-old, 141-pound champion who trains at Lancaster City Boxing Gym.
In 2017 Bernadin won the Golden Gloves state championship, and took home the award for Outstanding Boxer in the Novice Division.
This year, Bernadin's going Open class.
"I feel confident going into this fight." He said, adding, "I'm very excited to go Open class. I'm ready to return with a victory."
But he has yet to prove himself in this class; there were no matches for him in the Central Pennsylvania district tournament.
So Bernadin's first fight this year will be in Philadelphia Saturday. He'll go up against Quadir Albright (record unknown) who lives in West Philly and trains at Sicklerville Boxing Club.
A win Saturday will send Bernadin to states. A state victory would earn him a place on the Pennsylvania team and a chance at a national championship.