This weekend’s Knockout Dayton will be the last blow for Fairgrounds Coliseum


This weekend’s Knockout Dayton will be the last blow for Fairgrounds Coliseum

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Lisa Powell
Lauren Amongero of Oakwood and Aimee Pezo of Dayton work out at Drake's Downtown Gym under the watchful eye of gym owner John Drake (right). The two women will meet in a boxing ring during an adult amateur exhibition boxing match Saturday April 8. LISA POWELL / STAFF

The pressure is on to see who will throw the last knockout blow to an opponent in the historical Fairgrounds Coliseum in downtown Dayton.

Drake’s Downtown Gym said fighters have been training hard for the 7th annual Original Knockout Dayton, Dayton’s premier amateur exhibition charity boxing event, which will be held from 6:30-11 p.m. on Saturday, March 10. 

The 10-bout event, hosted by Drake’s Gym and held at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds Coliseum, will be the last sporting event for arena that’s been dubbed at times as the “sardine can.” The Coliseum is set to be demolished as part of undergoing redevelopments at the Fairgrounds. 

The Montgomery County Fairgrounds Coliseum has been home to a variety of events including University of Dayton basketball, boxing matches and the circus. MONTGOMERY COUNTY FAIR

Proceeds from Knockout will benefit the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

Jake Norman, a 28-year-old heavyweight from Enon, will challenge a 6-foot, 8-inch Dwayne McNeal from Cincinnati for the evening’s main event fight. Just two inches beneath McNeal, the towering boxers will face-off at nearly eye level. And with historical stakes at an all-time high, it’s likely that neither will be willing to leave the old hardwood arena without a triumph. 

Heavyweight Jake Norman at Drake's Downtown before a recent workout. Tom Archdeacon/STAFF HANDOUT

Probably best known as the former home of the Dayton Flyers basketball team from 1923 to 1950, the Fairgrounds Coliseum was also the home  of the Dayton Rens— what would become “the first all-black team to play in a white league in America and help to pave the way to the integration of the NBA,” according to a Dayton Daily News story by Tom Archdeacon. 

Other notable action that’s happened since the Coliseum’s construction in 1922 include Golden Gloves boxing matches, professional wrestling tournaments, college and professional basketball games, acrobatics and much more.

So whether you’re a boxing brute ready to watch the punches fly or not, Saturday’s fight is a landmark and final battle for Dayton that’s not to be missed. For pre-sale tickets, call Drake’s Gym at 937-223-6193.

This article contains information written by Dayton Daily News reporter, Tom Archdeacon, in a recent story that can be read on


WHAT: The Original Knockout Dayton 2018

WHEN: 6:30 p.m.- 11 p.m., Saturday, March 10

WHERE: Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 1043 S. Main St., Bldg 1, Dayton

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