CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ While many are celebrating outdoor boxing’s return to Rhode Island, others are denouncing the upcoming fight card.
CES Boxing announced last week that, for the first time since 1959, the promotional group will be hosting an outdoor boxing event in the Ocean State later this month.
Cranston City Council’s Safety Services Committee recently voted 5-2 to approve both the boxing and liquor licenses for the event.
Councilman Robert Ferri, who was one of two councilors to vote against it, said the event will cost the city thousands of dollars.
“We found out that the city was actually going to waive all fees to the promoter and pick up the expense for all the fire and police and the clean up,” Ferri said.
According to Ferri, approximately 10 police officers will have to work the nine-hour boxing event.
This alone, he said, will cost the city $5,000, which is an amount he argues the city doesn’t have to spare in this year’s budget.
Mayor Kenneth Hopkins, who’s all for the event coming to the city, believes Ferri is overshooting the numbers.
“With this internationally-televised event, Cranston is capitalizing on a unique opportunity to showcase our city to the people of our state, country and beyond,” Hopkins said in a statement. “This pro-business event that received bipartisan city council support will help build our post-COVID local economy.”
Anthony Moretti, Cranston’s director of administration, tells 12 News the event will cost the city roughly $2,500, and Hopkins chose to waive those fees because of marketing opportunities and the economic impact of fans visiting their city.
“We have received overwhelming support from many residents, local businesses, restaurant owners and employees,” Hopkins continued. “This small investment keeps us within budget and will help the people of Cranston that have been hit the hardest for so long.”
CES Boxing President and CEO Jimmy Burchfield Sr. did not want to comment on Ferri’s budget concerns, but told 12 News last week how excited he is to bring as many as 4,500 boxing fans to the city.
“I’ve been doing this a long time,” Burchfield said. “I’ve never been more excited with an event than this event we’re going to be doing on June 19.”
Ferri said he sees the positive impact the event will have on the city, but he’s heard concerns from several of his constituents about the cost.
Cranston Stadium has been rented out in the past for as much as $5,000, according to Ferri, which is what he would like to see happen again.
“I want this event just as much as anybody else does, but I did not want to vote on something without seeing a plan,” Ferri said. “I just didn’t understand why we had to waive all the fees.”