Gov. Matt Bevin joined four-time world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield today to announce a championship boxing match to be held in Louisville on June 24 at Freedom Hall.
The announcement was made in conjunction with the Louisville Sports Commission, the Muhammad Ali Center, Top Knotch Boxing (TKO), Kentucky Venues, and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
The televised event will kick off a fight series entitled the “Real Deal Championship Boxing Series” that will be promoted by Holyfield’s company, Real Deal Sports & Entertainment. The Louisville event will feature a championship bout among contenders and an undercard that will include local amateur boxers.
The event is part of Louisville’s six-week celebration of Muhammad Ali’s legacy, entitled the “I Am Ali” festival. The festival runs June 3 to July 15, and focuses on Ali’s legacy and core values.
This is the second major combat sports announcement in Kentucky this year and comes on the heels of Gov. Bevin’s reorganization of the Kentucky Boxing & Wrestling Commission (KBWC). The reorganization streamlined KBWC as part of the Red Tape Reduction initiative and tasked the commission with cutting needless bureaucracy that stifled the combat sports industry.
“We are thrilled to welcome Evander Holyfield and Real Deal Sports & Entertainment to Kentucky for this exciting championship bout,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “Our state has a rich boxing heritage, and we have worked hard in recent months to cut red tape and remove unnecessary bureaucracy hampering the industry. As a result, Kentucky is able to once again host large-scale combat sports events. We anticipate that this will be the first of many to come and are grateful to Real Deal Sports & Entertainment for their vote of confidence.”
The boxing industry has experienced significant growth in Kentucky as a result of Red Tape Reduction efforts. In 2016 alone, there were 13 boxing shows, which was more than the prior three years combined. The number of scheduled shows in 2017 is already on track to exceed last year’s numbers. The state has also experienced approximately 30 percent growth in combat sports revenue during the last fiscal year.
Public Protection Cabinet Secretary David Dickerson stated that he is looking forward to additional economic development opportunities that will arise from Gov. Bevin’s charge to cut red tape in the industry.
“It’s exciting to witness the explosive growth of combat sports in our state, and KBWC is constantly exploring new ways to grow the industry,” Dickerson said. “We believe that today’s exciting announcement is just the beginning.”
To date, Gov. Bevin’s Red Tape Reduction Initiative is responsible for repealing 151 regulations and targeting an additional 338 regulations for repeal. Over 1,900 of Kentucky’s 4,700 regulations have been reviewed as part of the initiative.
The Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission oversees all professional boxing, wrestling, and full contact competitive bouts and exhibitions in Kentucky. Learn more about the commission at http://kbwa.ky.gov