Council lifts boxing ban

CITY HALL — Glendale entered the professional boxing arena Tuesday after the City Council voted to lift a decades-old ban on the matches, citing minimal impacts to the city during a yearlong trial run.

Boxing was banned 62 years ago under the pretense that the matches would have an “unwholesome” impact on the city. But local boxing promoter Kahren Harutyunyan last year successfully lobbied the City Council for a test run. His company, Art of Boxing Productions, hosted two events at the Glendale Civic Auditorium, generating $19,342 in revenue for the venue.

Harutyunyan on Wednesday said he was glad he had the chance to demonstrate that boxing could be beneficial to the city.

“I am extremely satisfied, happy and proud with the entire process,” he said.

Other pro fighting, like mixed-martial arts and kick boxing, are still banned under the revised ordinance, and officials made it clear that they would continue to closely monitor planned matches.

Councilman Frank Quintero said several measures, including physical examinations, are taken to ensure the boxers are safe during their bouts.

“It’s sanctioned,” he said. “It’s licensed and it’s controlled. It’s not just a street fight.”

Mixed-martial-arts events would be allowed as part of a college or educational program, City Atty. Scott Howard said.

Councilman Dave Weaver gave the only dissenting vote.

“My only point is that I was leaning toward a one-year extension; however, as long as my colleagues understand that if there appears to be even a hint of any problems that I would bring this up for discussion after such problems materialize,” newly minted Mayor Ara Najarian said.

Harutyunyan said he was still considering whether he would organize another boxing event before heading off to law school later this year.

To hold a boxing event at the auditorium, promoters must request a reservation, which would then be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance was created to be open-ended, but not permanent to allow the City Council room enough to repeal it, Howard said.

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