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Amateur boxing returns to Winchester in November

Winchester is hoping to bring back amateur boxing. COURTESY PHOTO/MAX.KIT/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

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When Paul Manganaro brought an amateur boxing event to Town Hall about seven years ago, Paul Goodrich was in the audience.

“And I thought it was a very electric, awesome, fun night and it raised a lot of money,” said Goodrich, who is vice president of the Winchester Sports Foundation.

So Goodrich gave Manganaro  a call to see about duplicating the event and he put Goodrich in touch with long time boxing promoter Al Valenti. The resulting plan is to bring various military academies to Winchester on Nov. 9, 2024 to duke it out in Maurer Auditorium for charity.

The hook

Once he got the idea, Goodrich said he also talked it over with a few people in town and some potential sponsors and was pleased with what he called an overwhelmingly positive response. He said he’s even hoping to work with local restaurants in regards to putting together pre-fight dinner promotions or post fight party opportunities.

He said they really want to bring the community in because he believes attendance could be as high as 400, which could mean 400 pre-fight dinners.

“We think it can be an unbelievable boost for the local economy,” Goodrich said. “As well as raise a significant amount of money for local charities.”

The beneficiaries of the event would include the First Responder Fund that was set up last year for Winchester police, fire, nurse and doctors, a local symposium, that provides continuing education for EMTs and the Sports Foundation among other charities.

Selectman Michael Bettencourt asked Goodrich if he would add ABC, A Better Chance of Winchester to the list as well.

“I asked because we get a lot of requests about the ABC house and program … and it doesn't fit into a lot of our other funding sources.,” Bettencourt said, referring to the organization that works “to increase the number of well-educated young people of color.”

Ringside

Valenti said he fell in love with Maurer Auditorium the first time he walked in years ago, organizing that first Collegiate Fight Night. Using his USA Boxing connections, Valenti brought the West Point Military Academy’s boxing team to fight other college teams.

Over the course of a few years, according to Bettencourt, the event raised enough money for the Field Development Council to add lights to Manchester Field and service other fields with new grass, new mowers and new facilities.

As for turning Maurer into a boxing ring, Valenti said the plan is to load in on Friday and make it a community event by using a local electrician to set up the lighting.

“We have all the necessary tables and chairs that we bring in from Peaks Entertainment,” he added. “Ultimately, you get an incredible event here on Saturday, Nov. 9, and it's always remembered by the locals, that's exactly it in a nutshell.”

Good times

Bettencourt, along with Select Board Chair Rich Mucci, said he was at the last event and it was “phenomenal.”

“It wasn't just a boxing event for a bunch of guys hanging out, it was like a big party,” Bettencourt said. “The fights were awesome and it raised a ton of money for the Field Development Council.”

Valenti said it’s a fascinating event and he’s hopeful it could be an annual event.

“Because the charitables that are receiving money, the Winchester Sports Foundation, Winchester First Responders, Arlington First Responders, the National and Collegiate Boxing Association, it's all there,” Valenti said. “It's all there and it's a wonderful cause.”

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