Thursday, January 29, 2004
It started in 1992 in Shane Swartz's back yard in Fort Collins. He was in high school when he put a boxing ring in his yard and let people put on gloves and punch one another.
Twelve years later, the backyard match has turned into a 10 fight per month business because people love to fight, and people love to watch fights.
After the initial backyard fight, fraternities started calling Swartz to organize similar events.
He didn't advertise the fighting events, but word spread fast.
In 2002, Swartz, now 27, went into business with his brother-in-law, Kevin Shaw.
That year, Swartz and Shaw had an adjustable boxing ring built. The size of the custom ring can be as small as 12 by 12 feet or as large as 20 by 20 feet, from 1 foot to 4 feet tall depending on the venue.
Their new ring allowed them to take the Fight Nights into cramped places such as bars.
The fights are not regulated by any professional boxing commission because Knockout Events does not give money for prizes. Winners receive a leather and brass championship belt.
"This is entertainment boxing," Shaw said.
The safety precautions are in the weight of the gloves, Shaw said. Fight Night participants have to box with 20 ounce gloves. (Regulation fights use 10 ounce gloves.)
"They are very heavy and after being in the ring for three minutes you get tired," Shaw said. "That cuts down on injuries."
Knockout Events hosts 10 to 12 fights a month in eight states -- Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.
As of Tuesday, five fighters had registered for Saturday's Fight Night, including two women.
"Girls tend to throw more punches per round," Shaw said. "They get in there, and they don't stop. ... They seem to have more stamina."
Shaw isn't sure why so many people are drawn to the event.
"We always have enough fighters," he said. "People always show up to box.
"I think for some it's a chance to be in the limelight. For the audience, it's just something different and exciting. You can go to a band any night."
Shaw calls boxing the "ultimate one-on-one sport."
"People want to see their friend in the ring," he said. "You always have one guy in the crowd, and everyone wants him to win.
"If their buddy wins, they win."