Illegal boxing event still being promoted in NY

3:08 PM, Dec 28, 2012   |    comments
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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WGRZ) -- An underground boxing operation in the City of Niagara Falls is being promoted, but there's a problem, it's illegal.

Several weeks ago, we learned that female boxing was being held at a club.

This led to action by the state to stop the Amnesia Nightclub, which is located at 1414 Main Street from hosting the events.

The building was the site for the matches for about a month, until just last week when the state sent the club a letter saying its operation was illegal. This forced the club to stop holding fights there. But, promoters for the events are still advertising online that the boxing is legitimate.

City Mayor Paul Dyster said, "if they're trying to drawn a crowd to a future event using the internet, they'll likely get caught."

The fighting is raw, with untrained fighters in a ring and dozens of people surrounding it. Club Amnesia hosted the fighting on Monday nights without a boxing license and improper code requirements. Spectators would pay five or ten bucks to get in and the fighters got paid.

"I talked to the operator of the bar and he told me he was going to cease and desist using that as a sporting event and keep it as a bar," said Dennis Virtuoso, the code enforcement officer for Niagara Falls.

But, several ads still show that people are being allowed to go to the club to see fighting. One shows that Monday's at Club Amnesia is the place to be and another says that fights were being scheduled as recently as Christmas Eve. When we went to Club Amnesia, the owner said that he's not hosting boxing there anymore, but is showing videos of the boxing on television. He also says the ads will be taken down from the web.

Kristen Grandinetti, a councilmember with Niagara Falls City Council said, "it is so degrading, but it's pretty difficult when you're in a desperate situation and you're trying to make some extra money, or you're trying to get attention, however you can, to say 'no' to a situation like that."

The state penalty for holding an illegal boxing match is a misdemeanor. The only time things really got out of hand at the club was two and a half weeks ago when a brawl erupted and chairs and bottles were thrown.

Grandinetti adds that the boxing shows that many young women need jobs and more guidance during adolescence.

As for the owner of the Amnesia Nightclub, he tells me he wants to turn the facility into a restaurant-bar. And that he'll continue to show boxing there.

Niagara Falls police say they are monitoring the club to make sure no boxing actually happens.

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