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Clayton’s ‘Rumble on the River’ boxing card set for Saturday

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The Watertown Area Boxing Club is getting back to its 1000 Islands roots this weekend.

The club will return to the 1000 Islands area this Saturday in its “Rumble on the River” event at Cerow Park Recreation Center at 4 p.m. Saturday in Clayton.

The event will be the first appearance for the club and USA Boxing sanctioned event in the village. Watertown Area Boxing Club President Johnny Pepe said it is a way to help the club’s growth.

“We’re trying to branch out into the community once in a while,” Pepe said.

The event will also benefit the New York chapter of Troopers Assisting Troops, which helps the Wounded Warrior Project. Pepe said he’s glad to give back to the community. One of the fights will feature Fort Drum soldier Kamal James versus a yet-to-be determined Canadian fighter.

The idea came from Chuck and Carol Porto, who are the owners of Breakers Restaurant in Cape Vincent, to help benefit the club. This will be the first time the club is co-hosting an event as the Syracuse Golden Gloves. Carol Porto has a connection to boxing, as her father boxed with Hall of Fame trainer Ray Rinaldi.

This isn’t the first time the club has held a boxing event in the 1000 Islands area. The club held the Carmen Basilio Quest for Champions in Alexandria Bay in 2009 and 2010 before moving the event to the Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall in Watertown. It will also be the first time the club will fight at Cerow Park. Pepe said the arena is starting to take shape.

“The arena looks good,” he said. “It’s a nice little arena. It’s bigger than normal at the Fairgrounds.”

Pepe also said there will be more seating and allow for easier access to parking. Crowds at the Fairgrounds were normally standing room only, according to Pepe. He’s hoping there will be future events in Clayton.

The event will be United States vs. Canada and involve clubs from around the area and Canada. Pepe said the format has always been well-received. He also hopes holding the event in Clayton will make more people come from north of the border.

“We think it’ll be more accessible,” Pepe said. “It’ll be nice to give the Canadians a chance to see the show.”

Pepe said that clubs from Ottawa, Quebec City and Kingston are tentatively scheduled to appear at the matches. According to Pepe, there’s also been interest from in-state boxing clubs from Niagara Falls, Brooklyn and the Bronx in New York City.

“It’s nice to see other communities taking an interest in our event,” Pepe said.

Tickets for the event are $12 for general admission, $20 ringside and $50 for VIP seats. The doors open at 3 p.m. and tickets are available at the door.

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