There is nothing more exciting, thrilling and compelling for boxing fans than a great Fight Night.
As a fighter, promoter and most importantly, a fan of the sport, I feel it is important that the fans enjoy an evening of boxing. You know it’s a successful event when people are talking about the night that took their breath away.
There are several steps involved in putting together a successful and entertaining night of boxing.
Photo: Dmitriy Salita lands a punch against Ronnie Warrior Jr. in their April 13, 2011, fight, which Salita won by unanimous decision.
The venue should have a great boxing environment and every seat in the arena should have a good view of the ring.
It is also important to schedule the fight somewhere that fans can get to. The fight should be scheduled in a city where the fighters are from or where there is a large ethnic community that will support the fighter.
For example, as a Jewish fighter, fighting in New York is ideal for me. Fans will come out for an evening of boxing and find themselves drawn to fighters to whom they can relate.
Photo: Orthodox Jews cheer for Dmitriy Salita during a fight at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City in 2005.
A qualified matchmaker is an important part of any show.
Behind the scenes, matchmakers have a huge task of making sure the fighters are properly matched up, contracts are signed on time, approved by the athletic commission and that the fighters are at their destination at the right time.
A good matchmaker is always ready for changes in the card, injuries or a “change of heart.” The show must go on.
Photo: The 12th-round TKO of Wilfredo Vazquez (left) by Jorge Arce was a highlight of the undercard of last week's Pacquiao-Mosley fight in Las Vegas.
The matchups have to be exciting and competitive.
Matchups have to offer intriguing fight and compelling stories. A young fighter needs to be challenged and learn as he is climbing up the ranks.
The fans are a great source of pride and encouragement in a young fighter's progression. Each fight has to be a lesson for a young fighter to ready them for the big stage of boxing.
Photo: Up-and-coming Oscar de la Hoya, then 20, throws a punch at Jeff Mayweather in his fifth pro fight in 1993. Mayweather was not as good a fighter as his brother Roger or nephew Floyd Jr., both world champions, but he was a solid journeyman de la Hoya could learn from. De la Hoya won by TKO in the fourth round.
It is important to get the word out to the boxing and non-boxing media. Promotional material such as posters are spread throughout targeted neighborhoods.
We especially like to target gyms and common places such as the restaurants and barber shops where boxing fans might hang out.
I've had several boxing moments that I will never forget.
The night that stands out the most was in 2005 at Hammerstein Ballroom. My friend, the award-winning musical artist Matisyahu, walked me into the ring to a live song for my NABA title fight.
The arena had incredible energy that evening; the fans had an unforgettable night of boxing and entertainment. I still get mentions from fans of the great time they had.
Based on that experience, I try to incorporate that extra element of out-of-the-box entertainment in the shows I promote.
Photo: Dmitriy Salita dances with Hasidic reggae singer Matisyahu after winning his fight against Shawn Gallegos at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York on Aug. 25, 2005.
The next show I am co-promoting is Box NYC with WCMG Events Company on May 19 at Roseland Ballroom in New York. The evening will feature six bouts and appearances by sports celebrities such as John Starks and Darryl Strawberry.
Box NYC is a true throwback to the great nights of boxing that New York is known for. It will feature fighters from different ethnic backgrounds and neighborhoods, Irish, Jewish, Italian, American and Puerto Rican. All will bring their mix of fans.
The main event will feature Golden Gloves champion Mike Ruiz fighting for the New York State welterweight title and the co-feature will be four-time U.S. Army champion and 2008 Olympic Alternate Boyd Melson looking to keep his undefeated record intact.
What is unique about the card and the featured fighters is that they are fighting a great fight inside the ring but an even better one outside it. Besides fighting for the New York state title, Ruiz is also fighting for autism awareness and is donating a part of his purse to New York families with kids with autism. Boyd is donating his entire purse to an organization conducting research on paralysis caused by spine nerve damage.
Boxing is a great sport with quality people who are working hard not only to make something of themselves but also to improve the community and the world we live in. This will be in full display at Box NYC. For more information, please visit box-nyc.com and dsalita.com.
Photo: Boyd Melson (boydmelson.com)