“This isn’t 63 years ago. This is Glendale, and it’s 2010,” said Councilman John Drayman. “Participants of the sport are having to leave the city and never be able to perform their athletic sport in front of their own home fans. It’s just strange to me.”
Mixed martial arts, cage fighting or other related sports would still be banned under the new ordinance.
In addition to supporting local athletes and boxing fans, city officials said the two events produced during the yearlong trial period brought positive exposure and revenue to the city.
Both events were produced by local fighter and promoter Kahren Harutyunyan’s Art of Boxing Productions, with the second match nationally televised on ESPN.
The two matches brought in nearly $20,000 in revenue for the Civic Auditorium, which has struggled financially in recent years.
“We think that it was a total success, and gave the city very, very positive exposure, and gave the Civic Auditorium the same positive exposure,” said Ross Phares, the venue’s manager.
Last year, some council members had expressed concern that the matches could cause traffic, violence and other public safety issues, but none materialized, officials said.
Harutyunyan worked closely with the authorities and paid for a security detail and police presence.
“The police were on top of everything,” said Councilman Ara Najarian, who was initially skeptical of the plan. “The crowd was very orderly.”
Only Councilman Dave Weaver opposed permanently lifting the boxing ban, which he said was too big of a step for the city.
“I am philosophically opposed to boxing in Glendale,” he said. “Sixty-two of my 71 years in Glendale, there was no boxing. I’ve said it’s pretty hard for me to swallow now allowing boxing on a permanent basis.”
Weaver said he was worried other promoters could bring with them additional impacts, but the majority of his colleagues indicated they would vote in favor of the ordinance next week. “We can always come back here if there is an issue,” said Councilwoman Laura Friedman.
“I’m sure staff will keep an eye on this.”