Ross Thompson and Ray Casal headline this year’s class of inductees into the Buffalo Boxing Association Ring 44 Hall of Fame on Aug. 2 during a dinner ceremony from 6-11 p.m. at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. Boxer and artist Tony Sisti also is a member of this year’s induction class.
Thompson won four national Police Athletic League titles as an amateur and fought for the world light middleweight championship against Fernando Vargas in 2000. Thompson, who lost that title fight to Vargas, won 24 of his first 28 fights as a professional, finishing his 19-year prize fighting career 27-16-3.
Casal has been a boxing trainer since 1971 and operator of his own gym in Niagara Falls since 1996. His gym has produced 22 national champions and four Police Athletic League winners. Perhaps Casal’s best protege is his son Nick, who won a national Junior Olympic championship and a gold medal at the Sweden Cup as an amateur and has posted 22-4-1 mark as a professional.
Sisti mixed art and boxer together in the early 20th century. While he went 6-3-3 as a professional, he painted murals of several boxing greats – including Joe Muscato and Jersey Joe Walcott. Sisti’s portrait of heavyweight contender Phil Muscato, titled as “The Boxer,” won a gold medal at the Buffalo Society of Artists Exhibition in 1953.
Tickets cost $50 and must be purchased by July 26. For tickets, call Jack Green at 856-9365 or send a check to treasurer Jim Brown. Make checks payable to BVBA Ring 44 and mail to Brown at 269 White Oak Lane, Grand Island, N.Y. 14072.