SPECIAL TO NYF by TIM STRUBY
On Thursday afternoon, I found myself in the George Burns room on the third floor of the legendary NYC Friar’s Club. Despite the etchings of comics Chevy Chase, Dan Ackroyd and Milton Berle smiling down at me from the walls, the gathering wasn’t a roast but talk of boxing. The crowd, including fighter Heather Hardy, famed trainer and bar owner Jimmy Glenn and actor Danny Aiello, had come for the press conference to officially announce the debut of “Broadway Boxing: Presented by BROOKLYN BOXING.”
The 90 minute special, airing this Saturday night at 7 pm on WPIX (immediately following the Mets game) signifies a new partnership between PIX and DiBella’s NYC boxing series.
DiBella in black shirt, slack and loafers – channeling, perhaps, his inner Johnny Cash – stood in the back of the room wearing his customary inviting smile. “This has been a year in the making,” he said. “We felt that Broadway Boxing had developed enough of a brand and paid our dues over a dozen years that we were ready for this.” By ‘this’ he meant a preview of Saturday night’s PIX program. The lights dimmed and a video projected on the wall featured a mélange of sensational knockouts from Broadway Boxing, and a recap of the March 30th 10-round New York State middleweight title matchup between local prospects Chris Galeano, of The Bronx, and Devaun Lee, of Queens and in-studio PIX interviews with DiBella and Hardy.
“I think Lou and PIX did a great job with this,” said Hardy, who’s been in camp preparing for her undercard bout on the highly anticipated June 25th Thurman/Porter clash. “It’s a big step for Broadway Boxing.” DiBella agrees. Cutting himself a modest slice of cheesecake, he emphasized the need for growth in the sport, especially on the regional level. “PIX is looking to be the leader in local sports programming,” said the promoter. “And for us that’s perfect because Broadway Boxing features the best kids coming out of the Golden Gloves and the young men and women repping their boroughs and gyms.”
The PIX Saturday night show is a ‘pilot’ according to DiBella. A chance to give people a sense of what Broadway Boxing is like and why it’s important. But DiBella hopes the relationship with PIX blossoms. “I’ve got my fingers crossed that this will turn into a series,” he said. “All we need are people to watch.”