A local youth boxing club will get a boost from a "Fight Night" event that comes to town Saturday, according to the event's organizers.
Promoters made a couple of adjustments to market the Fight Night as a family affair, said Michelle McKnight, who is the advertisement sales manager for Channel 27, the event's local sponsor.
McKnight has seen several failed attempts to bring the attraction to Craig. She attended a couple of Fight Nights at a bar in Steamboat Springs and became convinced the event would work in Craig with a little tweaking.
"We discussed making it a non-alcoholic, family event open to all ages," McKnight said.
And she handed the concessions over to the Craig Elks Boxing Club. The club needs to raise money to buy a ring, and people in town often complain that there's nothing to do. The boxing event could address both issues at once, McKnight said.
McKnight's own son will be a contender, she said.
The fight night will be held at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion on Saturday. Beginner or amateur fighters of any age can show up at 4 p.m. for the weigh-in. The fights start at 6 p.m.
Knockout Events is staging the fight night. The company started in the owner's back yard in Fort Collins when he hosted neighborhood boxing nights to entertain his friends. Now, the novelty has taken off, and Knockout Events hosts numerous fights each month throughout Colorado. Recently, it toured Steamboat, and Friday it will arrive in Winter Park.
Fight Night is a boxing tournament in which winners advance until two fighters battle for a belt and bragging rights, McKnight said.
Knockout Events sent its promoter, Ben Moore, to Craig this week to market the event. Moore handed out flyers and talked to potential competitors. Moore said the Fight Night is being geared toward kids, in part to rekindle interest in the youth boxing program and help the group buy a new ring.
Craig Elks Boxing Club may even get a cut of the door money, but that's still being negotiated, McKnight said.
Although people have to sign a waiver before they're allowed to participate in the competition, Moore said the event is safer than it sounds.
Fighters wear gloves that weigh 20 ounces apiece. That alone offers protection because the bigger gloves are harder to swing and they have more padding, Moore said. Also, participants wear padded head gear. Groin and breast protection are optional and will be provided by Knockout Events.
"We've never had a broken nose or teeth broken out," Moore said. "We try to make it clear to people that there's not a lot of danger."
From the fights she's seen, McKnight said the opponents usually come out punching like crazy in the first round. In the second round, the action slows as the fighters get tired. By the third round, the lack of a professional training catches up and the fighters sometimes stand facing each other, out of breath.
But fan participation urges them on.
"The people fighting are all right out of the community," McKnight said, "so they all have their own fans."
Many of the matches end up with the opponents hugging and congratulating one another.
"Everybody's a good sport about it and that's one of the things I really liked," McKnight said.
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org