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A monument for Sunnyside Garden

Boxing legend Gerry Cooney attends the premiere of

Boxing legend Gerry Cooney attends the premiere of "Lights Out" at Hudson Theatre in Manhattan. (Jan. 5, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

Here's a press release from Ring 8, the Veteran Boxers Association. They have a ceremony at the site of the old Sunnyside Garden arena in Queens this weekend.

NEW YORK (October 2, 2012) - Ring 8 will host a commemorative ceremony for the old Sunnyside Garden Arena this Saturday afternoon ( October 6), starting at 12 noon (ET), highlighted by the unveiling of a monument on the site of the former sports venue at 44-10 Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside, New York.

The Sunnyside Garden Arena monument reads: This monument is in honor and dedicated to those men who fought in the amateurs and professional bouts.

Originally built in 1926 by railroad baron, Jay Gould, as a private tennis club, the property was sold in 1945 and became a public arena, hosting amateur and professional boxing, wrestling, roller derby and kick-boxing during the next 32 years. Several films were shot there, including Mr. Universe in 1951, starring Vincent Edwards, and President John F. Kennedy campaigned in front of Sunnyside Garden Arena in 1960.

Boxing, however, was its main attraction, seating 2000 with tickets back then costing only $4.00 for general admission and $8.00 for ringside. Before television, Sunnyside Garden Arena served as sort of a minor league system for boxing, noted by the Ring 8 member and Daily News cartoonist, the late Bill Gallo, whose father reported fights for the New York Sun. Fighters who consistently won fights at Sunnyside Garden Arena often graduated to the Mecca in Manhattan, Madison Square Garden.

Some of the more notable boxers who fought at Sunnyside Garden Arena between 1945 and 1977 included Emile Griffith, Bob Cassidy, Gerry Cooney, Jose Torres, Oscar Bonavena Sr., Eddie Gregory and Archer brothers, Jimmy and Joey. Other Ring 8 members who also fought there included Henny Wallitsch, Bobby Bartels, John Colan, Tommy Englehardt and Lenny Mangiapane.

"Ring 8 is proud to remember Sunnyside Garden Arena and honor the great boxers who fought there for more than three decades," Ring 8 president Bob Duffy said. "Sunnyside Garden Arena still has a lot of meaningful memories for many of our Ring 8 members. In 1977, Sunnyside Garden Arena was razed to build the Wendy's franchise that is there now, but boxing memories from that site will live forever. This monument guarantees that Sunnyside Garden Arena will never be forgotten."

Formed in 1954 by an ex-prizefighter, Jack Grebelsky, Ring 8 became the eighth subsidiary of what was then known as the National Veteran Boxers Association - hence, RING 8 - and today the organization's motto still remains: Boxers Helping Boxers.

RING 8 is fully committed to supporting less fortunate people in the boxing community who may require assistance in terms of paying rent, medical expenses, or whatever justifiable need.

Go on line to for more information about RING 8, the largest group of its kind in the United States with more than 350 members. Annual membership dues is only $25.00 and each member is entitled to a buffet dinner at RING 8 monthly meetings, the third Tuesday of every month, excluding July and August. All active boxers, amateur and professional, are entitled to a complimentary RING 8 yearly membership.

New York Sports