VIP pass on my wrist, I grabbed a front row seat to watch Friday night boxing in the San Pedro High School Auditorium. The event featured six bouts - local San Pedro residents vs. boxers brought in from our neighboring Mexican state, Quintana Roo.

We were there a bit early but the place filled up quickly. By the time the fights started, the VIP section was packed and it was pretty much standing room only in the auditorium.

Denny and Lisa from Croc's Bar brought the bell from their bar just in case the officials didn't have one. Roberto, the organizer of this cool event, is on the left.

The officials lined up to wait for the event to start. One manned the stop watch and the others filled out their score cards at the end of each round. I think they did a great job.

The Honorable Manuel Heredia, Jr., our area representative and Minister of Tourism was in charge of awarding the medals.

The whole event was very well organized. The boxers wore head gear and the referee was all over things... calling any problems and breaking up situations early. One match was even called a TKO in the first round when it was clear that the smaller Mexican boxer was overmatched. Phew...I was expecting to be wincing most of the time.

The man of the night, our hometown hero, was definitely Mohammed Harmouch, a young Lebanese man who owns a Middle Eastern restaurant on Middle Street. He had boxed in Lebanon but hadn't had a chance to fight in the five years that he's lived in Belize...until recently.

The Arab cheering section was the rowdiest by far. Chanting, singing, dancing...Look at this excitment when he won his match. It was infectious and this is, by far, my favorite picture of the night. Let's call it "The Happy Harmouches".

Exhausted but victorious. His crew was not allowed to rush the stage (or he would have been disqualified) so he came to them.

All in all, a huge success for San Pedro. Five out of our six fighters won, no one was hurt, the fighting was fair and the place was packed.

One scrappy little Mexican boxer prevailed. He was vastly underestimated when he walked into the ring. Short, moustached and a bit older looking, I was worried about the guy. But he was good! And won fair and square.

A super fun night and a great change of pace.

And this has nothing to do with the boxing, but I just wanted to show you a picture of a rude drunken brat who kept cutting in front of everyone in the beer line. If you see him on the street, please say "hi" to him for me.

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