Boxing event adds to downtown momentum

Border City Boxing Club owner Josh Canty is looking forward to giving local boxers a chance to get back in the ring as Rumble On The River returns to Windsor July 31.

“We had that long drought because of COVID and we got our kids that are just so anxious to get in there and compete in front of their friends and families,” Canty said of the event which was last held in 2019 with former NFL’er Luke Willson appearing as a guest bell ringer.

Canty says they are hoping for twelve to fifteen bouts with fighters from Ontario and the United States on the ticket.

“The key thing is to get our local fighters on, not only from Border City but from Windsor Boxing Club, Bam Bam’s. The other local gyms as well so that we can get the local fervour back up in terms of boxing,” he said.

The Rumble On The River will add to the post-pandemic fervour that is happening downtown.

Renaldo Agostino is executive director of the boxing club and also president of Element Entertainment which brought international DJ Tiesto to Caesars this past weekend.

“The people here deserve the best and I think the best is attainable as long as you wanna go out there and get it,” Agostino said. “And if you can get it why not bring it? We've been bringing it to Windsor, especially after COVID.”

Agostino, who also owns Turbo Espresso bar, is a big advocate for downtown Windsor.

“It makes people wanna stay here. It makes people wanna be here. It makes people proud to be here. I'm happy we can be a part of that,” he said.

Brian Yeomans, Chair of the Downtown BIA, feels Agostino and his brother Remo are setting the tone downtown post-pandemic.

“They've been happy to help us along the way whether it's putting up Christmas lights in the winter all the way to putting on these fantastic events that they run,” he said.

Agostino brought a Windsor Spitfires viewing party to Charles Clarke Square last month and says a major event will be announced Tuesday with many more on the horizon this year.

Ward 3 city councillor Rino Bortolin feels events like those along with the farmer’s market, Ouellette Car Cruise in August and festivals help create momentum for the downtown area.

“What you really want to do is build up these organic events that really suit the city and are created by the people in the city and bring people in the city in a general area,” Bortolin said.

New investment is also creating residential space downtown which is giving restaurants like Oven 360 and Vito’s Pizzeria the confidence to open in the core.

“Downtown needs to be a neighbourhood,” said Bortolin. “To be a neighbourhood you need people who live downtown. As long as we can create a neighbourhood where people live as well as events to take place you start to get that good balance.”