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Winchester organizers pull no punches for November boxing event

The big boxing match coming to Winchester on Nov. 9 is all but sold out. But organizers say there is still a lot of work to do before the big event. FILE PHOTO

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If you were hoping to score a ticket to the amateur boxing event planned for November, you might very well be out of luck.

“In the past, there was a public event,” said Al Valenti. “We sold tickets to the public, this is actually a pre-sold event and … this event is already, I can say this as a boxing promoter, sold out.”

Valenti is working with Paul Goodrich, vice president of the Winchester Sports Foundation and of the First Responders Fund, to bring boxing back to Winchester.

Goodrich and Valenti first approached the Select Board in March about bringing various military academies to town to duke it out in Maurer Auditorium for charity on Nov. 9. In late June, the pair brought the board up to date on the gathering that promises to be a knock out event for Winchester.

Ray Mercer demonstrates his boxing stance while training during the Summer Games of the 24th Olympiad in Seoul. COURTESY PHOTO/KEN HACKMAN

Sponsored by the National Collegiate Boxing Association, along with USA Boxing, the evening will feature the entire West Point boxing team as well as teams from the Coast Guard Academy and possibly the Naval Academy as well as a few NCAA Boxing Clubs.

“It’s quite a pageantry, so to speak,” Valenti said.

Lending to the pageantry is plans for what Goodrich said would be a very elegant, proper military event that would include the color guard, the National Anthem and “all the right things to really honor the military.” 

While the crowd will be a relatively small 380, Valenti said they would likely bump up security because of the West Point graduates and other boxers in the room. And also possibly due to some celebrity guests.

According to Valenti, 1988 Olympic gold medalist and former heavyweight champion (1991) Ray Mercer will be in the house on Nov. 9. And so will Lowell’s own Irish Micky Ward, the 2000 light welterweight champion who had his storied career turned into the 2010 Oscar winning movie, “The Fighter.”

“It should be a fun night,” Valenti said.  

Next steps

Select Board Chair Michelle Prior asked Valenti and Goodrich what they needed from the board.

“It sounds like we’re going to need to approve a one-day liquor license at some point,” she said. “Is there any other permissions that you need from us?”

Valenti said they’ve already filed the appropriate paperwork for the event with USA Boxing. He also said there was insurance in place, a doctor would be on hand and he would work with local police and EMT’s to make sure the appropriate details would also be in place on the night of.

All they need from the board is a formal approval, hopefully by August, to move forward, he said. Once they have that in hand, Valenti said they will make a splashier announcement regarding the event.

“This is a soft announcement,” he said.

Irish Micky Ward, the 2000 light welterweight champion who had his storied career turned into the 2010 Oscar winning movie, ‘The Fighter,’ will be on hand in November. COURTESY PHOTO/WIKIPEDIA

Prior said they would make sure to work the approval into their summer agenda.

Select Board member Michael Bettencourt also noted that local restaurants have plans to also get in on the action. Goodrich said four local eateries were planning pre-fight dinner menus.

While Valenti said the event is essentially sold out, Goodrich said there would be room set aside for people from the local charities that will be the recipients of funds raised by the boxing event. Those lucky beneficiaries include the First Responder Fund, the Sports Foundation, the community schools program, Winchester ABC, and En Ka Food Pantry En Ka Home - EnKa (enkasociety.org).

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