Glorified Sparring III Friday night

FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS: In this file photo, D'Andre Wiggins prepares for a muay thai sparring match at the Steel Athletics gym in Tamuning during Glorified Sparring II. Glorified Sparring III, a fundraising fighting event geared toward raising money for Bob Sales' heart surgery, will start at 7 p.m. Friday at Steel Athletics. Post file photo

Steel Athletics, one of Guam's premier mixed martial arts gyms, wants all backyard brawlers and grapplers of all disciplines to compete in its quarterly amateur fighting showcase.

Glorified Sparring III, the third fundraising event of its kind, opens its doors at 6 p.m. Friday at the Steel Athletics gym in Tamuning. With the first bout starting promptly at 7 p.m., Steel Athletics is the venue for fighters to prove themselves.

The event, which has become Guam's largest stage for local fighters, is holding its third installment to benefit local Brazilian jiujitsu instructor Bob Sales. Sales, in April, suffered a heart attack and requires surgery off island.

“We want to be able to help him the way he helps everyone that steps onto the mat,” said JJ “Superman” Ambrose, Steel Athletics owner. “He’s a great person, and we all look up to him.”

Steel Athletics raised $1,600 in November 2018 for The Shack, a coffee shop on Saipan that was destroyed by Supertyphoon Yutu.

Knowing he had hit on something positive, Ambrose hosted the Glorified Sparring II exhibition in March, raising almost $2,000 toward rebuilding the Tamuning skatepark.

Besides serving the community, the event also provides a stage for Guam’s unarmed combat sports community.

Ambrose expects nearly 40 practitioners of varying degrees to grace the octagon, many testing their skills for the first time in a controlled, competitive environment.

He expects to draw athletes with disciplines in mixed martial arts, muay thai, boxing, wrestling and grappling.

“I love seeing the raw talent that is showcased on these cards,” Ambrose said. “Most of the fighters don’t have a lot of experience or formal training, but the fighting spirit of Guam always shines through.”

“Our goal has always been to give fighters and grapplers an outlet to showcase their abilities (and) ... gain experience in a safe manner,” he added. “Iron sharpens iron.”

Ambrose, who won his third consecutive professional mixed martial arts fight on Saturday, enjoys seeing fighters from different disciplines. He hopes to see the MMA community out in full force.

“I think everyone thrives when we work together,” Ambrose said. “When all of the gyms come together for a good cause in the spirit of sport, the community is enriched.”

Fighters can sign up and weigh in at Steel Athletics in Tamuning through Friday.

For more information, follow Steel Athletics at facebook.com/steelathleticsguam.

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