Former USC players among local boxers preparing for big fight

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Two days before fight night, Syvelle Newton and a few boxers got into the gym to get a quick workout.

Yes, you read that correctly. Former South Carolina quarterback Syvelle Newton is now trying his hand at boxing.

"I met Dominique Robinson-Neal at his gym along with Carlos Powell and some of the other guys that were working out here," Newton explained. "It was just a great opportunity. My cousin actually introduced me to him because she was working next door. It was a great opportunity."

Newton and the rest of the boxers in camp with him have been training for the last seven weeks now. However, Newton's not fighting Saturday at Jamil Temple after his fight fell through. Instead, he's helping the boxers prepare for their bouts as the big night approaches.

"I didn't know he was a footwork coach," said Jaylon Pridgeon. "When I found that out, he and I started working on footwork at night. He's really helped me out with my footwork."

Pridgeon, a Golden Gloves champion, is among those who are fighting Saturday at Jamil Temple. He's a veteran inside the ring, but this fight is one that he's been looking forward to.

"This is the biggest show in South Carolina yet," Pridgeon said. "Stokes Promotions have been promoting shows here in Columbia since 1999, but this is their biggest show yet because we've got all the main events and all the highlight fighters in South Carolina fighting in this show."

Also on Saturday's fight card is Mike Matulis. The former USC offensive lineman is said to be fighting professionally for the first time ever at 255 pounds on Saturday. Newton had the chance to spar with Matulis and believes the Boynton Beach, Fla., native is ready to duke it out.

"He looks confident," said Newton. "One time…he just caught me right here outside of my chin and I was like 'Whoa man! Don't hit so hard because we're working out!' But he looks great and I can't wait to see him step in the ring."

The Rock the Bells Fight Night will have 13 bouts and will be held at The Jamil Temple located at 206 Jamil Road. Doors open at 6 p.m. Saturday and the show will start at 7 p.m.

Ticket prices start at $25. All VIP tickets are $100 and come with free food and drinks during the event.

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