Club boxing is making a New York City comeback.
Fight promoter Lou DiBella will resume his Broadway Boxing series in Midtown this week after a three-year break he attributes in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fight night will be Tuesday at the Edison Ballroom, and the evening’s host said he’s ready to lose a chunk of change to make it happen.
“If I sell out the room, I’m not making money, I’m losing money,” DiBella told the Daily News.. “But that being said, I thought it was important to reinvigorate club boxing in New York City.”
The Brooklyn native hopes to sell roughly 500 tickets for a VIP night of food, booze and boxing, which he said won’t cover his costs but is long overdue.
DiBella, who has been doing Broadway Boxing events for two decades, wanted to do one blowout night in 2022 before resuming regularly scheduled bouts next year for the fight series’ 20-year anniversary. . He estimates he’s done nearly 150 shows in that span, and has hosted such fighters as welterweight world champion-turned—commentator Paul Malignaggi from Brooklyn.
Broadway Boxing started out at the Roseland Ballroom, which closed in 2014, causing the fights to move to B.B. King’s on W. 42nd St., which shut down in 2018. DiBella said he was offered use of the Edison Ballroom by the venue’s owner, boxing manager Allan Wartski, an old pal. But a move to a larger venue next year seems likely.
“There will be celebrities there, there’s going to be ex-fighters there,” he said of his upcoming night of fights. “I decided if I’m going to blow my brains out doing an event at a high cost with no chance of making money, I want to have a good time.”
DiBella’s customer base includes a lot of local hip-hop stars as well as fight fan and actress Rosie Perez. The Harvard-educated promoter acknowledges the sport has lost some of its luster since the glory days of Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, but thinks it’s important to celebrate the Sweet Science in the heart of New York City.
“As goes New York, so goes boxing,” he said.