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Apollo Theater To Hold Boxing

October 8, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ Over the years the Apollo Theater has resounded with hot, swinging, blue and cool sounds of the likes of the Duke, Count, Godfather of Soul and Lady Day.

On the night of Nov. 1, however, the famed Harlem institution will rock with a different beat _ leather against flesh and bone.

The first fight show in the Apollo’s 84-year history will be held when promoter Cedric Kushner presents ``Uptown Saturday Night,″ with heavyweight Lou Savarese and David Izon in the 10-round main event.

Izon shortened his name from Izonritei because the Nigerian is tired have having his name mispronounced, not because Izonritei is too long for the Apollo marquee.

``We’ve never had a boxing match at the Apollo before,″ Grace Blake, executive director of the 1,400-seat theater, said Wednesday at news conference at Sylvia’s near the Apollo. ``We’re very pleased. This is an historic condition. The calls already are coming in.″

The great Sugar Ray Robinson appeared at the Apollo, but only to skip rope and tap dance.

``I’m excited,″ said Savarese, a native New Yorker now living in Houston. ``I worked on construction in Harlem, but I’ve never been to the Apollo.″

The Savarese-Izon fight and a 12-round heavyweight match between Obed Sullivan of Mesa, Ariz., and Hasim Rahman of Baltimore will be televised by HBO on its ``Boxing After Dark″ series.

Rahman (23-0, 20 knockouts), who said he had commitment to fight George Foreman, scored a 12-round decision over Savarese (36-1, 30 knockouts) April 26, and Savarese said he was supposed to fight Shannon Briggs.

Savarese ended up with Izon (19-2, 17 knockouts), and Rahman had to settled for Sullivan (28-1-1, 19 knockouts) when Foreman elected to fight Briggs Nov. 22 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino near Ledyard, Conn.

``George is George,″ Savarese said. ``He has his own agenda, and it doesn’t matter who he hurts.″

Perhaps some day Foreman will appear on the Apollo stage, but he’ll have wait quite awhile. Every Wednesday, the Apollo presents amateur nights _ Ella Fitzgerald once won a contest there _ and on Oct. 29 there will be a senior citizens talent show. The minimum age is 59, and Foreman will be only 49 Jan. 10.

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