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Nassau Coliseum to reopen with plenty of boxing

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Aug. 3, 2015.

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Aug. 3, 2015. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

When renovated Nassau Coliseum re-opens in April, 2017, major boxing events will be as big a part of the programming as six annual visits by the Islanders. Brett Yormark, who is CEO of Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment, which will operate the Coliseum, made the announcement Saturday night.

Yormark outlined an ambitious plan to expand Brooklyn Boxing, which staged the WBA welterweight title fight between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter Saturday night at Barclays Center, to Nassau Coliseum, Coney Island Amphitheater, the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn and a small site in Manhattan. The Coliseum, which will seat 13,000, can be flexed up to 14,500 and also will include a theater of 4,000-6,000 seats for smaller shows, will be the prime partner.

“We’re going to have six to eight big fights a year at Nassau Coliseum,” Yormark said. “We think it’s a separate market, no different than we think it’s a separate market for family shows, concerts and college basketball. We’re going to leverage our influence in the boxing community to bring some great events out there.

“We’re already thinking about having our first fight in April, 2017. Errol Spence Jr. was born out there. We’re already working on a date and thinking about who makes sense. No different than Barclays Center, we want to open up with a significant boxing event to set the tone for what the future will look like. It will be Brooklyn Boxing on Long Island.”

Undefeated welterweight contender Spence was born on Long Island and still has relatives in Brentwood, Huntington and Bay Shore. Yormark also suggested other possible headliners include Mastic light heavyweight Joe Smith Jr., former super lightweight champion Chris Algieri of Greenlawn and super lightweight contender Cletus Seldin of Shirley.

Boxing made occasional cameos at the old Coliseum, including Gerry Cooney’s first-round KO of Ron Lyle on Oct. 24, 1980 and George Foreman’s fifth-round TKO over Joe Frazier in their second bout on June 15, 1976. But Yormark said it will be a “major staple” in the future.

“It’s a market that craves live sports,” Yormark said. “Getting out of the gates with a big-time boxing event that is relevant to the market and has national appeal is important to us.”

New York Sports