Mount Carmel Society to bring back outdoor boxing

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Mon., Sep. 24, 2012
The Mount Carmel Society and San Juan Center bring back 'Boxing Under the Stars' on Saturday, Sept. 29. Photo contributed. - Contributed Photo

The sport of boxing has been around for more than 3,000 years, waning and swelling in popularity over the course of history. Boxing’s popularity grew in Enfield during the 1940s and '50s when the Thompsonville section of town frequently held Friday night matches including a bout featuring renowned featherweight Willie Pep.

The Friday night fights have been gone for more than 50 years, but the Mount Carmel Society is teaming up with Hartford’s San Juan Center to bring back the event, calling it "Boxing Under the Stars." Boxing’s popularity is on a decline because of the popularity of mixed martial arts fighting, but the society hopes to bring back memories and re-create the days of old with the outdoor event on Saturday, Sept. 29, with a rain date set for Sept. 30. The first bout is slated to begin at 7 p.m. and will feature a card of 15 bouts by AAU Golden Glove Boxers, amateurs from Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.

“We have a long tradition of athletics and young people and we are happy to bring another event to town,” said Carl Sferrazza, society president. “We thought that an outdoor event will be reminiscent of a different time and reflect our tradition.”

The society partnered up with experienced trainer George Cruz, director of the San Juan Center and soon to be inductee into the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame, to bring back the contests with the hopes of reminiscing and giving residents in the local area a chance to experience the sport without having to shell out a lot of money or drive over an hour to the nearest casino. Cruz will be inducted on Nov. 10, and his career highlights include working with Riddick Bowe and Mike Tyson, and working the corner when local boxer Marlon Starling knocked out then undefeated Mark Breland in 1987.

Tickets cost $25 for ringside, $20 for reserved and $15 for general admission and are available at Figaro’s Restaurant, Chicago Sam’s, Danny’s Pizza, Troiano Oil, Freshwater Package Store, and Milano's Importing in Springfield. Parking will be provided on the Society grounds for $5 per car. Concessions including food and beer will be available.

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