KEY WEST, Florida Keys — A Key West boxing tradition dating back to Ernest Hemingway’s presence on this subtropical island is to be celebrated Saturday, March 20, with a series of evening bouts in a harborfront ring at Mallory Square.

Fight Night in the Keys has seven matches slated, highlighted by a 12-round fight for the WBC international heavyweight title featuring defending champion Odlanier Solis.

In the 1930s, when he wasn’t writing, fishing or relaxing with his compadres, Ernest Hemingway often officiated boxing matches in the Bahama Village neighborhood near his Whitehead Street home. He also enjoyed sparring with local fighters.

Fight Night in the Keys, presented by Top Rank Inc. and DEJ Productions, recalls that heritage of sportsmanship while offering spectators the chance to view big-name boxing in an open-air waterfront setting.

The main event stars Solis, who was a 2004 Olympic gold medalist and three-time world amateur boxing champion before turning pro. Subsequently he has racked up 15 wins, 11 by knockout, without a single loss. He won the international heavyweight title in 2008 has defended it three times.

Solis is slated to battle Costa Rican heavyweight Carl Drummond. Drummond has a record of 26 wins, 20 by knockout, and two losses.

Other scheduled bouts feature Damian Frias, Marcus Upshaw and local fighter Danny Van Staden.

The venue at Mallory Square is to open at 6 p.m. EST and the first bout is set to begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets are priced at $35 per person for general admission and $65 for assigned ringside seats. For $150 per person, boxing fans can enjoy VIP seating, a weigh-in party, pre-fight event and post-event party with food and an open bar.

To purchase tickets, visit www.keystix.com or call 305-292-0486. Tickets are available in Key West at Big’uns Sports Bar, 218 Duval St., and Mr. Cheapee’s Liquors at 423 Caroline St.

For lodging information in Key West, call 1-800-LAST-KEY (800-527-8539) or visit the Keys Web site at www.fla-keys.com.

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