Boxing event coming to the Muhammad Ali Center later this month
The Rudell Stitch Boxing Classic at 6 p.m. Jan. 20 will bring fighters from six countries to the Muhammad Ali Center.
The boxing classic was created in partnership with Dreams Realized LLC, a promotional company in Louisville.
Lee Kiper, the company’s CEO, said it will feature 13 matches with fighters from Kentucky, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Nigeria and South Korea.
There will be three championship matches, including that of welterweight Samantha Worthington — a Lexington native with an undefeated professional boxing record. Louisville native Tim “Mayhem” Moten will fight in the heavyweight main event. Moten's professional record is 11-0.
More details about the full match lineup and special guests will be announced in the coming weeks, Kiper said.
The inaugural event is named after Rudell Stitch, a professional boxer from Louisville. He was one of the top-ranked welterweights in the world in the 1950s.
Kiper said Stitch is his son’s great-grandfather. He named the boxing classic after Stitch to pay homage to the boxer’s impact on the sport and Kiper’s family.
“I want to make sure we recognize and remember you don't really die until people don't have any memories of you anymore,” Kiper said. “My goal is to make sure [Stitch’s] memory always stays alive, that we recognize and remember who he was and what he did.”
In 1958, Stitch was awarded the bronze Carnegie Hero Medal for saving someone who fell in the Ohio River. In 1960, Stitch drowned in the Ohio River under similar circumstances, when he attempted to rescue a friend during a fishing trip.
After his death, he was awarded the silver Carnegie Hero Medal. He is one of six people to receive the medal twice, according to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.
Stitch was honored in 2013 with a Hometown Heroes banner from the Kentucky Pride Foundation in downtown Louisville. In 2014, he was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.
Kiper said the boxing classic embodies the values of both Stitch and fellow Louisville icon Muhammad Ali, who used to spar with each other.
“[Stitch and Ali are] pretty close, on what they stand for from a leadership perspective, outreach perspective, and overall service to the community,” he said.
Kiper said the event is about more than the matches and guest appearances. It’s to showcase the importance of the community Ali and Stitch valued.
“I have a bigger aspiration, and that is to tie our community into cooperation, love, time and attention where people that typically wouldn't be together spend time together,” he said. “I think [the boxing event] is one of those things that opens the door to have that conversation.”
Organizers rented private event space at the Muhammad Ali Center to host the Rudell Stitch Boxing Classic, according to a spokesperson with the center.
Tickets are available online for general admission and VIP admission. Kiper said the VIP tickets will feature couch seating near the ring, complimentary food and drinks, and a free gift bag.
All proceeds will go towards the Muhammad Ali Center, Kiper said.
This story was updated to correct Kiper's relation to Stitch.