Bartow Arena preps for historic boxing match

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Wilder vs. Molina fight has officially sold out!

Birmingham is two days away from one of the biggest fights in Alabama history, and the preparations are underway. A sold out crowd is expected to fill Bartow Arena on the UAB campus.

The boxing match is a first for the university. A four day load in and load out process started Thursday at Bartow Arena. University officials told WIAT there are no guidelines on hosting an event like the heavyweight boxing championship, so they’re working out the problems as they go along.

“When they contacted us, we were thrilled to take it on,” said Chris Clifford, Associate Vice President for Business Services at UAB. “Honestly, it’s something we’ve not experienced before so we’re all learning as we go.”

The arena is being transformed into an international show case. Since this is the first boxing match to come to Bartow, university officials want to make sure that everyone can see the match, no matter if you’re sitting ring-side or in the “nosebleeds.”

“I’d say that one important thing is just making sure the sight-lines are not obstructed,” said Clifford.

The Wilder-Molina fight caps an exciting day-long boxing event at Bartow. Local businesses are getting excited and hotels in the Birmingham area are booking up fast.

“It’s been a great week for us and we’re looking forward to this weekend. We are sold out and we’re very excited about that,” said Melanie Johnston, a manager with Double Tree by Hilton.

UAB hopes this boxing match could lead to more events.

“We had the Dalai Lama on campus last year, and now we have a completely different type event,” said Clifford. “We hope to continue this momentum.”

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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