ST. LOUIS – Devon Alexander admits the sport that’s left him with scars above his eyes saved his life.

“(Boxing) just saves lives,” Alexander said. “I have seen it firsthand. It saved my life.”

Alexander’s had 36 professional fights, but now it’s his turn to fight the good fight.

“This event’s geared toward getting these kids to be busy and off the streets,” he said.

The former world champion is teaming up with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and Harris Stowe State University to introduce a seasonal amateur boxing event, the Devon Alexander Invitational Classic, with the motto, “Fight in the Ring, Not in the Neighborhood.”

Eighteen-year-old Cory Cragg will be representing St. Louis at Saturday’s event. He’s been boxing for nine years.

“Sad to say, a lot of my friends and peers don’t have anything going on,” Cragg said. “A lot end up passing away because of not being able to do something.”

The event will bring in amateur boxers from around the Midwest to go up against the best St. Louis has to offer.

“The kids get to compete with kids outside of their area,” Olympic boxer Arthur Johnson said. “It’s like a national tournament.”

James Clark, the Vice President of Public Safety and Community Response for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, worked with Alexander to make the amateur boxing event a reality.

“The coaches here are not the only ones excited,” Clark said. “The coaches in Cleveland said, ‘We need that,’ the coaches in Detroit said, ‘We are excited to bring our boxers to St. Louis every four months.’”

Harris Stowe State University will host the first event on Saturday at 5 p.m. You can find tickets here.