Citizens request change to law that KOs boxingAbundant Life Church Pastor Ted Marsh and Peekaboo Boxing gym Owner Boyd Davis asked the City Council at its Oct. 26 meeting to consider changing the law that bans boxing.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
Abundant Life Church Pastor Ted Marsh and Peekaboo Boxing gym Owner Boyd Davis asked the City Council at its Oct. 26 meeting to consider changing the law that bans boxing.
Ordinance #9.24.050 prohibits “boxing, wrestling, or any other type of fighting event, whether or not held in exchange for prizes or other forms of remuneration or awards and whether or not admission is charged to the public for attendance at the same. This section shall not apply to curricular or extracurricular athletic events held or sponsored by secondary schools or universities.”
Marsh and Davis recently partnered to present a boxing event at the church where Marsh is pastor, Abundant Life, which sits outside city limits on Hwy. 65.
Proceeds from the matches, which featured local boxers in Davis’ program, benefitted the church and gym, plus funded two training scholarships for low-income youth.
River Falls created the new law in 2007 in response to a former owner of PR’s Place who tried to hold cage matches similar to Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC’s) mixed-martial-arts style of fighting.
Marsh said at the Oct. 26 meeting, “I don’t think it (Golden Gloves boxing) falls under the lines of Ultimate Fighting because it’s a very safe sport,” adding that he thinks the 2007 law goes too far in banning all boxing.
The pastor commends Davis for the job he does helping young people learn a sport that teaches discipline, self control and other positive traits. Marsh said Davis’ boxing program takes at-risk youths off the streets.
Davis confirmed, “Ultimate Fighting we do not approve of.”
He said it -- traditional, Golden Gloves amateur boxing -- is a safe sport. He said his No. 1 priority is protecting the kids.
Davis said that it means a lot to the boxers in the program to perform locally in front of their families and friends.
Council Member Scott Morrissette asked if the request related to an upcoming event. The men said no, that they’d just like to clear the way to again hold matches like the one at the church and during special events like River Falls Days.
West Wind Supper Club owner Kevin Pechacek held matches on his property during River Falls Days. He said in a previous story that the event was a sellout and very well received.
Pechacek accompanied Marsh and Davis to the council meeting but didn’t address the members. The West Wind owner said at the time he arranged for the matches but wasn’t aware of the law prohibiting them.
Marsh said at the meeting that Abundant Life sits outside of the city limits now, but it may not always. He gave to the city a video of the recent event held at the church so the Council could see exactly how the events worked.
He and Davis emphasized that the Golden Gloves (traditional) boxing is much different than the fighting the council tried to prevent when it created the law.
Mayor Don Richards agreed the law is “overly broad” and asked when the council could put it on an agenda for discussion and action.
City Administrator Scot Simpson suggested adding it to the City Council’s Nov. 23 agenda.