The Sweet Science is returning once more to the shores of The Big Lake.
Last summer, more than 500 fans packed the stands at Wallenpaupack Area to witness an exciting card of pro and amateur fights.
Now, less than a year later, Lake Region Fitness officials are deep into final preparations for a sequel.
Promoter David Vazquez has dubbed this weekend's event "Boxing by the Lake II" and he's confident that even more fans will come out this time around.
"We're all really excited," he said. "We've been getting amazing support from the community and the school district, so I'm thinking it's going to be a big night."
Boxing by the Lake II is scheduled for Saturday evening at the high school. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and boxing commences at approximately 8 p.m.
Tickets are available at Lake Region Fitness or at the door on fight night.
Prices range from $20 for general admission to $35 for preferred seating.
Vazquez is expecting to see 12-15 bouts featuring wildy varying ages and weight divisions. Many of the fighters who'll be in action Saturday night live and train locally.
"I'm pretty pumped to see what they can do," he said with a big smile. "These folks are here in the gym just about every single day. They're working hard and focused on getting in that ring and putting on a show."
For further information about the Lake Region Fitness Boxing Club, please call 570-390-4496.
Teach Them Well
Tina Scatton is one of the most interesting stories of all the local boxers who'll be in the ring Saturday.
She's 26-years-old and a seventh grade social studies teacher at Wallenpaupack Area Middle School.
Page 2 of 5 - Tina played high school basketball at Hazleton, then coached at the junior high level after graduating from Bloomsburg University.
The switch from hoops to boxing is admittedly rare, but Scatton appears to be making a smooth transition.
"I love it!" she exclaimed during a pre-fight interview.
"There's just something about coming here and working out on that bag. It's a great way to relieve stress and get out aggression. I'm really excited to get in the ring and see what I can do."
In all likelihood, Tina will have a big rooting section Saturday night as friends, family and even some students are planning to attend.
"My kids are so pumped up," she said with a laugh. "I just don't want to let them down. I want to get in there and give them something to cheer about."
Scatton will fight a three round bout in the 135lb. weight division.
The Square Circle
Justin Hewitt is a name that most local sports fans likely remember.
A Newfoundland native and '03 Paupack graduate, Hewitt was one of the first student/athletes to sign on when the Buckhorn varsity wrestling program was revived after a long hiatus.
Even after moving away to attend culinary school in New Hampshire, Hewitt never lost his appetite for athletic competition.
"I did a lot of things like MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but I've been boxing for three years now and I love it," he said.
Justin already has four amateur bouts under his belt. And, while he's still searching for that elusive first win, Hewitt has already soaked in the fight scene in places like Brooklyn and Paramus.
Page 3 of 5 - "I'd definitely love to win and that's my goal," he said. "But, it really isn't all about the wins and losses. When I go out there, I just want to give it my all."
Hewitt is 28-years-old and preparing for a three round bout at 141 lbs.
The first thing you notice about Chris Leonardi is his energy.
A seventh grader at the Paupack Middle School, this 12-year-old dynamo can barely contain his enthusiasm for boxing.
"The first thing I want to say is that I'm gonna go in there and beat him," Chris said. "I like to take my time and counterpunch, but if I see he's hurt, I'm going to take him out."
Leonardi appears to have learned an important lesson from his first bout. He journeyed all the way to Philadelphia for his 120 lb. debut, but suffered a TKO.
"It was a good experience and I learned a lot," Chris said. "This time, I won't sit back and wait too long."
He is the son of Chris & Sarah Leonardi, Hawley.
Chris is a well rounded young man who has also golfed and played football. His uncle introduced him to the Sweet Science and his favorite fighter is super-featherweight Yuri Gamboa.
Mike Freethy was hooked on boxing from the very first time he stepped into Lake Region Fitness.
The junior at Paupack and a member of the varsity football team, it seems that Freethy has never met a workout he didn't like.
In the run-up to his first ever amateur bout, Mike is working out at least three hours per day, five days a week.
Page 4 of 5 - "I love it," he said of the challenging regimen that Vazquez has established for him. "I take it all pretty seriously. I lift weights, do cardio, eat healthy and try to stay really active."
All that hard work and healthy living should pay big dividends for Freethy when he steps into the ring on Saturday.
Mike's debut bout will be in the 170 lb. class against an opponent from New York City. He'll go three rounds and look to imitate his boxing idol, Iron Mike Tyson.
"I want to be aggressive," he said. "I'm really going to try and get inside so I can take my opponent out."
The 17-year-old righty is hoping to put on a show for a large contingent of family and friends who'll be no hand to show their support.
"I'm going to put him on the ground," Hewitt said. "I want everyone to see how hard I've been working and what I can do."
It's in the Blood
Destrianne Snow was an all-round athlete in high school, having played both basketball and track.
The 24-year-old grew up in Nebraska and Colorado before moving to Tafton seven years ago.
Snow's father was a boxer, so she's been aware of the sport since childhood.
"I was always pretty active, but this is the first competitive thing I've done in quite awhile," she said. "I think boxing is a great outlet mentally, physically and emotionally."
Destrianne is 24-years-old and will make her amateur debut in the 128 lb. division. Snow is slated to go a total of four 1-minute rounds in her bow.
"I'm definitely excited, but a little nervous too," she admitted. "My opponent is much taller and has a longer reach, so the gameplan is to get inside and work the body."
Page 5 of 5 - Snow's father will be in her corner Saturday night to offer words of wisdom and encouragement.