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Jeff Kolpack, Published July 13 2010

UP Center event coordinator wants ESPN boxing bout

It’s been several years since a professional boxing event of some significance has been in Fargo. The Urban Plains Center is trying to change that.

The facility has made contacts to land an ESPN fight night event, said Cory Rapacz, event coordinator for UPC. The proposed date would be in August, which is a good time for the UPC because the ice for the hockey arena would still not be installed.

The success of the recent “Spring Brawl” mixed martial arts event promoted by Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor Chris Tuchscherer got the attention of other promoters, Rapacz said. It drew about 3,000 people.

ESPN fights are usually a step below the HBO bouts, but still include world-rated fighters, he said. Rapacz said he also has ties to the boxing industry that could help UPC.

It would most likely include a local boxer like Andy Kolle of Fergus Falls, Minn., a middleweight who is 21-2 in his 23 professional fights. He’s the reigning Minnesota middleweight champion.

The last major fight in Fargo is considered to be Virgil Hill’s 1993 World Boxing Association light heavyweight title fight against Saul Montana at the Fargodome. Rapacz said Hill called him last year inquiring into a “farewell fight” in Fargo.

He said if the August ESPN event doesn’t work out, the UPC would still be well-positioned for a later date.

“We have the perfect-sized arena,” he said.

The boxing setup would use a half-house configuration – the same as the recent MMA event.

Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the WDAY Golf Show, 10 a.m. to noon on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia