Youngstown’s Boxing Champs Are this Year’s Inductees in Hall of Fame

YOUNGSTOWN – The only problem with being the home of five boxing champions is, which one do you induct in the Walk of Fame first?

Youngstown solved the dilemma by picking all of them.

The class of 2024 of the Youngstown Walk of Fame are Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik,” Harry Arroyo, Greg “The Flea” Richardson and Jeff Lampkin.

All five will be honored later this summer at the Walk of Fame in Wean Park, announced Mayor Jamael Tito Brown on Thursday. 

In a short ceremony at the park, the mayor also unveiled the first permanent Walk of Fame marker, which honors Kool & The Gang.

The metal plaque, mounted on a waist-high pole along the Wean Park walking path near the Market Street Bridge, is the first of what will be many. The city will add new inductees, and their plaques, every summer.

The Walk of Fame’s purpose is to honor Youngstowners who made a national impact in sports, entertainment, business or any endeavor.

It will be another attraction in the riverfront park that already boasts the “Handshake for the Century” statue of baseball great Jackie Robinson and George “Shotgun” Shuba of Youngstown.

But the Walk of Fame also has a deeper purpose.

“I want people, when they come to Wean Park, to learn about our history and heritage,” Mayor Brown said. 

To quell any debate about who should get the honor next, the mayor said all deserving candidates will eventually have their moment.

“We’ve got a lot of talent, we’ve got a lot of opportunity, and we’ve got a lot of park,” Brown said. “Every year, we’ll take one, or two, or maybe three or four.”

The decision to induct all five of the city’s boxing champs at the same time was an easy one. “We’re not going to have to fight about who’s next,” said Brown. “When you have five world champs, it’s hard not to [induct them all at once].”

Mancini was the NABF and WBA lightweight champion from 1982-84.

Harry Arroyo was the IBF lightweight champ from 1984-85.

Lampkin was the IBF cruiserweight champ from 1990-91.

Richardson was the WBC bantamweight champion in 1991.

Pavlik was the WBC and WBO middleweight champ from 2007-2010.

Kool & The Gang became the first inductee, receiving the honor in a ceremony last summer.

The legendary funk-R&B band’s founders include Youngstown natives Robert “Kool” Bell and his late younger brother, Ronald. Although the two moved to New Jersey with their family when they were youths, they never forgot their Youngstown roots, the mayor said.

Kool & The Gang will also be inducted in the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland later this year.

Pictured at top: Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and the first Hall of Fame plaque.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.