CANASTOTA, NY - DECEMBER 9, 2008 - The International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum announced today the newest class of inductees to enter the Hall. Living inductees include bantamweight champion Orlando Canizales (USA), heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis (UK), junior lightweight champion Brian Mitchell (South Africa), matchmaker / publicist / promoter Bob Goodman (USA), promoter Akihiko Honda (Japan), journalist Hugh McIlvaney (UK) and broadcaster Larry Merchant (USA).
"We're extremely excited about the Class of 2009 and very much looking forward to honoring the 20th class of inductees," said Executive Director Edward Brophy. "All living inductees are anticipated to attend and participate in 2009 Hall of Fame Weekend festivities."
The 20th Annual Hall of Fame Weekend is scheduled for June 11-14th in Canastota, NY. Over 20 events, including a golf tournament, banquet, parade and autograph card show, are planned. An impressive celebrity lineup of boxing greats of yesterday and today will attend this year's Induction Weekend. The highlight of the weekend will be the Official Enshrinement
Ceremony on the Hall of Fame Museum Grounds in Canastota, New York on Sunday, June 14th to welcome the newest members.
The Hall of Fame also released names of posthumous honorees:
middleweight champion William "Gorilla" Jones, welterweight champion "Mysterious" Billy Smith and middleweight champion Billy Soose in the Old-Timer Category; manager Billy Gibson and commissioner Abe J. Greene in the Non-Participant Category; journalist Paul Gallico in the Observer Category; and Tom Hyer in the Pioneer Category.
Inductees were voted in by members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.
COMMENTS UPON RECEIVING INDUCTION NEWS
"It's truly an honor. Being elected into the Hall of Fame feels wonderful. There has been a lot of the greatest fighters inducted in the Hall of Fame and it's unbelievable to be in the Hall with them."
- Orlando Canizales
"I'm proud and honored to be selected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. I'm humbled to be considered among the greats in my field by esteemed boxing historians and professionals. My journey began over 30 years ago when I put on my first pair of gloves. I continued boxing because I loved the sport and I received tremendous support from my family and coaches. To know that all of those years of hard work and sacrifice through my amateur
and professional career have been recognized and appreciated by the best in the boxing community is a great feeling. I can't wait to join everyone in Canastota in June to celebrate."
- Lennox Lewis
"I'm ecstatic! This is the most awesome news you've ever given me. I was a very proud WBA / IBF world champion and this will be my greatest achievement ever. This is an award I've been waiting for my whole life."
- Brian Mitchell
"This is unbelievable. I'm almost speechless for the first time in my life. I was hoping that someday I would join my father in the Hall of Fame. This is overwhelming. It's the honor of a lifetime."
- Bob Goodman
"As someone who has found boxing irresistible since my earliest days, I consider my induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame one of the greatest honors of my career in journalism."
- Hugh McIlvanney
"Television is the medium of show and tell. The show, meaning the fighters, are the most mportant by far. I'm just one of the tellers and I am deeply honored to be a footnote of all the great fighters that are in the Hall of Fame."
- Larry Merchant
For more information on the events planned for the 2009 International Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend, please call the Hall of Fame at (315) 697-7095 or visit www.ibhof.com
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