Boxing will return to the Rhythm City Casino Event Center on Saturday night and this time it will be a historic occasion.
For the first time ever in the state of Iowa, fans watching a boxing event will be able to legally place bets on the bouts they are viewing.
The "Rhythm Rumble" event will mark the third time that Alien Boi Boxing and Calkins Sports Productions have promoted a boxing event at the events center, but it will be the first since the legalization of sports betting in Iowa in August.
"I would hope (wagering on the fights) would get some people out," promoter Clint Calkins said of the 7 p.m. show, which is scheduled to include nine bouts. "It’s the first time in Iowa that they will be able to do this so that’s kind of a cool thing."
Calkins said wagering at the casino’s Elite Sportsbook will only be allowed on the main event between Davenport’s Shawn West and Muscatine’s Lance Williams and the co-main event bout matching Rock Island’s Eddie Hamilton against Cedar Rapids’ Andre Espeut.
"They’re just kind of testing it out so there will just be a line on those two fights," he said.
West, a longtime mixed martial arts competitor, is 3-1 since taking up pro boxing, and he will be facing a much more seasoned opponent in Williams. The 34-year-old veteran is 7-11 and has not won a fight since 2015, but he has faced several fighters with national reputations over that span.
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Hamilton (4-0) will be hoping to continue the strong start to his career against Espeut (5-8).
The event also is scheduled to include the pro debuts of Moline’s Eduardo Lalo Ramos, a two-time Junior Olympic state champion, and West Liberty’s Roberto Negrete Jr., a two-time Ringside champion.
There again will be a women’s bout on the card as Kristine Ion-Rood, who won her pro debut on the last Rhythm City fight card in February, takes on East Moline's Daisha Duran, who will be making her debut at the age of 36.
Also on the card are Davenport’s Stephen Edwards (10-1-1), Moline’s Lupe Jimenez (0-3-1), Davenport’s Hugo Gutierrez (0-2), Waterloo’s Rodrigo Rubio (1-0) and Cedar Rapids’ Cruse Stewart (4-0).
"There’s a lot of evenly matched fights on here, a lot of good competitive fights," Calkins said. "There’s a lot of new faces. There are nine fights, and out of 18 fighters, I think there’s only three or four that would have fought on the last show."
A live weigh-in will be Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the casino’s Draft Day Sports Lounge. Tickets for the Saturday night show start at $25 and can be purchased at The Market gift shop at Rhythm City or by calling 563-328-8000.