Boxers Anatoliy Dudchenko and Terrance Smith brought the glory to Glendale, throwing the first punches at Friday’s much-anticipated, first-ever sanctioned professional boxing event in the city.
The boxing event “Glendale Glory” at the Glendale Civic Auditorium, which boxing promoter and former champion fighter Kahren Harutyunyan put on, came to fruition Friday night after a 62-year ban on boxing matches in the city was lifted.
“It’s fun,” 7-year-old Nicholas Kofman said. “I love boxing.”
Nicholas has been boxing for two years and went to Friday’s match to support his trainer.
His father, Russ Kofman, said boxing is a classic sport that should be promoted more because it helps keep kids out of trouble.
“It teaches them discipline,” he said.
Mayor Frank Quintero, a longtime fan of professional boxing, attended the highly anticipated California Athletics Commission-sanctioned fight night.
“I just want it to be successful and good entertainment,” he said.
Friday’s event was the first boxing match Councilwoman Laura Friedman had ever attended.
She said she had been looking forward to the professional night of fighting.
“This is not amateur boxing,” Friedman said. “These guys are professional. They have doctors. They are trained.”
The City Council in March approved a one-year trial period, allowing professional fighting events, which were banned in 1947 following pressure from residents who said boxing was “unwholesome.”
But the council’s approval didn’t come without concerns. Council members wanted to ensure the event, which was sponsored by Harutyunyan’s Glendale-based Art of Boxing Promotions, went as smoothly as possible.
Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz and other city officials have been working together around the clock to make sure the event doesn’t become a headache for local residents.
“We are there to make sure people have the most fun as possible,” Lorenz said.
Traffic and parking concerns were listed as potential problems that needed to be addressed before the first punch was thrown at Friday’s event.
Three police officers, a sergeant and a police dog and handler were assigned to the event to make sure traffic didn’t overflow onto nearby residential streets.
Ethel Street resident Sandra Bates has seen the effects of large-scale events at the auditorium and was concerned about Friday’s bout.
“We always have a problem with parking and littering,” she said.
People have thrown litter on her lawn and have parked in front of her home’s driveway, blocking her exit.
“They are not very courteous or considerate of the people who live there,” Bates said.
Ten event staffers were hired to monitor the doors and act as ushers, Lorenz said, and another four licensed security guards were commissioned to screen all attendees, who entered the auditorium. Attendees went through metal detectors.
To further prevent fights among attendees, all chairs in the 1,100-capacity auditorium were zip-tied together so they couldn’t be thrown.
Smoking was restricted to an outside patio.
Alcohol consumption was limited to two beers per person, with the bar set to close an hour before the end of the final match.
“I am not crazy about guys getting drunk and wandering into our neighborhood,” resident Allis Snyder-Crabb said.
Snyder-Crabb lives on North Verdugo Road, near the auditorium.
She wasn’t worried about overflowing parking because she said neighbors already deal with parking issues related to Glendale Community College.
“The fact that boxing is a violent spectator sport is more concerning,” Snyder-Crabb said.
But overall, she said whatever brings people to Glendale is always a good thing for the city.
“I love Glendale — whatever benefits Glendale,” Snyder-Crabb said.
The opening-bout win went to Dudchenko by unanimous decision.
VERONICA ROCHA covers public safety and the courts. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.