Pro boxing event in Chattanooga tonight features homecoming for two brothers

Tonight at the Chattanooga Convention Center is a homecoming featuring reunited brothers Joseph Francisco and Roger Hilley.

It’s also a celebration for the Joe Smith family, with whom both brothers lived during their adolescence.

The 22-year-old Hilley will be in the main event of a boxing card starting at 7 p.m. He’s 1-0 as a pro, having won by knockout at the same venue in December. His 28-year-old half-brother will be in the earlier 140-pound pro fight against Ronnie Watson of Wilson, N.C., Hilley’s December opponent.

Asked if had given Francisco any advice with respect to Watson, Hilley smiled and said, “He don’t need it.”

Hilley’s 130-pound foe tonight will be Jerson Ramos of Atlanta.

“I know he’s a right-handed boxer and likes to move to his left, looking to land that right hand,” said Hilley, a left-hander. “He’s 1-1-1, but the footage I saw was old, from like 2012.”

Tonight’s event also has five amateur bouts, including one female matchup and others with “a couple of elite athletes top-ranked in the USA,” according to Andy Smith. Admission is $20 at the gate.

Smith is the regional executive director of the YMCA’s YCAP program, following in the footsteps of his father, Joe. Andy was the YCAP boxing coach as Francisco and Hilley made their way through their challenging teenage years, and both feel boxing kept them from even worse decisions than they have made.

Francisco in particular feels…

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