On Sept. 12, amateur and professional boxers will descend on the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre to raise money for charity in Melee Gala VII, hosted by the United Boxing Club.
Rhyland Qually, general manager of the United Boxing Club, says the event started with the founder and president of United Boxing.
“Ryan Savage had the idea for a really cool venue at the Met, and he started with just a club show, but he made it into a great charity event,” Qually says. “We always have a great charity we raise money for, and we have the corporate challenge constants.
United Boxing Club's Melee Gala VII will raise money for charity. // Photo by Callie Lugosi
“People who have never boxed before in the corporate world try to train for three months and have their first fight at the Met. We try to make sure we train our fighters to not just go in and beat each other up, but show that they’ve really learned something about boxing.
“We also bring in Team Canada versus another international team. We’ve had Team Canada versus Team Puerto Rico, US, Mexico, and this year, it’s Team Philippines, so you get to see essentially brand-new fighters and world-class fighters at the top of their game.”
This year, the Melee Gala is raising money for Variety, a children’s charity with which they’d worked two years ago.
According to Jeff Liba, the chief executive officer for Variety, the organization “steps in where healthcare, government and organizations can’t help families” of children with physical or cognitive disabilities, children who are critically ill or families who are affected by economic disadvantages. Proceeds from the Melee Gala will go toward funding for specialized services, equipment or programs for children with physical and cognitive disabilities.
“Events like Melee help us to continue to provide equipment, programs, and services that families are requesting,” Liba says. “(The United Boxing Club has), in the past, traditionally picked different organizations that they work with annually, but they just had such an amazing experience and felt so good, and we were able to raise so much money together when we did this last time two years ago that they approached us again.”
“For us as an organization, those long-term partnerships are important,” he says, because Variety is funded by community donations with no government or United Way funding, unlike many charities that work with children.
Qually says “it’s always been amazing how many people come together (for the Gala), knowing that the people who are running it are volunteers.” He says the volunteer board “just does so much work so that we have a really good show.”
Tickets to the Melee Gala are available on Eventbrite. The event starts at 6 p.m. and general admission is $50. Donations for the event are being accepted at meleegala.com.