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Kathryn Shea Duncan, Media/Public Relations Manager
Visit Lake Charles
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 Visit Lake Charles awarded 2019 Major Event of the Year for Hosting USA Boxing
Annual awards recognize best of the Louisiana tourism industry


CHARENTON, La. (Feb. 6, 2020) –  The Louisiana Travel Association (LTA) introduced Visit Lake Charles as the winner of the 2019 Major Event of the Year for hosting the USA Boxing National Championships and Olympic Trials for Boxing. During its Annual Meeting in Charenton, La. LTA presented 19 “Louey Awards” to honor and showcase individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to the Louisiana tourism industry.

USA Boxing, the national governing body for Olympic-style amateur boxing, chose Lake Charles to host the USA Boxing National Championships and Olympic Trials for Boxing which took place on December 7-16, 2019.

The week-long event generated more than 8,000 total overnight stays, with the estimated economic impact over 3 million dollars. It included over 900 boxers vying for national titles in the youth (17-18), junior (15-16), intermediate (13-14), bantam (11-12) and pee wee (8-10) divisions. The junior and youth winners will have the opportunity to represent USA Boxing at international competitions in 2020, while the other divisions will be looking to earn national ranking points.

“With the announcement of Lake Charles hosting the 2019 USA Boxing National Championships and 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing, we received an outpour of support from community leaders, elected officials, and the local residents of Southwest Louisiana. Upon its announcement, it was the largest-ever sports group to visit Lake Charles, bringing over 8,000 total room nights and generated an economic impact of over $3.2 million,” said Eric Zartler, Sales Director at Visit Lake Charles. “104 boxers began their journey to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics right here in Lake Charles, which was an unprecedented and historic moment for all of Southwest Louisiana.”

The tournament began with weigh-ins and technical meetings. The preliminary boxing matches were held December 9-13, and the semi-finals were held on December 14, all at the Lake Charles Event Center. In true Louisiana fashion, during the semi-finals, a tailgate was held on the grounds outside of the Lake Charles Event Center. The Olympic Trials for Boxing finals were held on December 15 at the Golden Nugget, with a box-off the following day, of which determined the boxers who will represent the USA in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Additionally, the USA Boxing Alumni Association held their Hall of Fame Reception in Lake Charles, where Olympic gold-medalists "Big" George Foreman, Mark Breland and "Smokin'" Joe Frazier head the Class of 2019 into the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame. USA Boxing Alumni Association's third class also includes decorated coaches, Al Mitchell and Ray Rodgers. Sen. John McCain was posthumously presented a special Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2018, Eric Zartler, sales director at VLC, made a presentation to the USA Boxing Board of Directors in Salt Lake City on behalf of Visit Lake Charles, Lake Charles Event Center and local event partners. Multiple destinations were bidding to host this prestigious tournament. Recent sites for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing include 2016, Reno, Nevada, (men) and Memphis, Tennessee, (women); 2012, Mobile, Alabama, (men) and Spokane, Washington, (women); and 2008, Houston (men).


About the Louisiana Travel Association, LTA

LTA is a trade association leading and strengthening Louisiana’s vibrant tourism industry through promotion, education and advocacy on behalf of our members. Tourism generated $1.9 billion for Louisiana in 2018 and employs more than 237,200 people throughout the state.