After a long absence, amateur boxing returns this weekend when Watertown joins the ranks of such heavyweight cities as Dallas, Los Angeles, Tampa and Washington, D.C. when it hosts BorderWars 11.

BorderWars offers individuals the opportunity to get off the couch, pop on the headgear, lace up the gloves and step into the ring. It also provides amateurs a chance to fight following a long layoff.

Wisconsin won the rights to host BorderWars in March, according to Jorge Monterrey, owner of Defense Combatives in Watertown. He is also the co-owner of The Bar, where he and Misti Hawn also own Kiss My Axe inside The Market, 210 S. Water St.

Monterrey said the boxing will take place outside of The Bar on a large patio, with the main event at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“After participating in BorderWars 8 and 10, I knew Watertown was going to be the new home for this event. We knew we could do it better. Watertown has a history of being a fight town, and had a very successful boxing program. It’s time to bring that back to life,” Monterrey said. “I pulled out my checkbook and asked what needed to happen to bring BorderWars to Watertown.”

Monterrey is ready as is Adrian Rowen, boxing coach for Defense Combatives. Rowen has been working with several of the local fighters to prepare for this amateur boxing event.

“It’s going to be huge,” Rowen said. “We’re hoping to put on an event comparable only to those seen in Las Vegas or Atlantic City.”

Tha Boxing Voice Podcast, Defense Combatives, The Bar and BPE Network have come together to host a MGM Grand style fight experience complete with ring girls, VIP bottle service, giveaways and premier entertainment all night long, Rowen said.

“This is the bowling league for the boxer,” Rowen said. “Whether you have the experience or not, this event provides individuals with the platform to give it a try or just get back in the ring.”

This event will be live streamed on BPE Network.

“Win, lose or draw — it’s a great experience for everyone involved,” Rowen said. “This is our trial run. If we’re successful we’ll gain the respect and be able to bring professionals here to Watertown. Our goal is to make Watertown the boxing center of Wisconsin again so people don’t have to travel to Madison or Milwaukee. They’ll have it right here in their backyard.”

Monterrey agreed.

“If the Watertown event brings in the crowd, the tide will rise and all the boats in the water will also rise,” he said. “It will force others to step up their game and also their events when BorderWars decides on another city and venue. We want this event to be big, but we want to keep the small town feel to it. This may be the biggest show yet, and it’s right here in Watertown.”

Rowen said the fight card is already set with 10 fights deep. He said no one can walk up Saturday and request to fight.

“We have fighters coming from California, Detroit, Texas, Washington, D.C. and all over Wisconsin,” Rowen said. “The weight classes will start at 135 and go all the way to 250 pounds.”

He said each bout will last six minutes with three, two-minute rounds.

“Anyone who doesn’t come to see this is missing a big event,” Rowen said.

Face off and weigh in will happen at 7 p.m. Friday at 210 S. Water St. There is no charge for Friday’s event.

General admission tickets are $35 with standing room only tickets set at $15. Tickets and VIP packages for Saturday’s fights are available on the Eventbrite site or at the door, 210 S. Main St.

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