When it comes to playing host to the National Native American Boxing Championships, Haskell Indian Nations University appears to have scored a unanimous decision.
Ninety boxers registered for the three-day meet at Coffin Complex on the HINU campus.
"That's very good," said Dave Lubs of Ringside Inc., a boxing-equipment manufacturer that helps sponsor the tourney. "We credit that to the location. We'll break 100 next year."
That's assuming the 2005 meet will return to Haskell. Lubs thinks it will.
"There are some other cities in the running, like Milwaukee," Lubs said, "but we like it here. We're looking at this as being the permanent site."
Geography is the primary reason.
Last year's meet in Traverse City, Mich., drew only about 62 competitors. It was the same story two years ago in Albuquerque, N.M., and the year before that in Minnesota, Lubs said.
Clearly, Lawrence's central location added to the appeal for competitors.
"Most of the boxers drive," Lubs said. "Very few of them fly in."
Lubs drove to Lawrence, too, but it took him only 35 minutes. The Ringside Inc. offices are in Lenexa.
After one session Thursday night and two sessions Friday, the three-day tourney will wind up with a 12-bout card at 6 tonight.
Most of tonight's matches will be in the men's open division, but there will also be a boys junior bout at 80 pounds and a boys senior match at 154 pounds.
The meet is presented by the Native American Sports Council in cooperation with the National Indian Athletic Assn.