Monday, March 4, 2024

Long Beach boxing fans and beyond: There’s a (literal) underground fight club at Harvelle’s

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For Long Beach in general, Harvelle’s represents what it’s always represented: A dark, downstairs-and-below-street-surface cabaret space that has long hosted some of the city’s most distinct burlesque shows. (Who doesn’t wanna see Maleficent and Snow White slowly strip in a direct mockery of the House of the Mouse?) But for Long Beach boxing fans, Jack Rabbit’s Boxing Social Club at Harvelle’s has become a space for watching many of our budding boxers spar before fame.

And for those who just wanna see something different, this could be your ultimate date come Feb. 15, when the sparring club comes back to life.

Wait—there’s an underground battle zone for Long Beach boxing fans at Harvelle’s? Yes, yes there is: Jack Rabbit’s Boxing Social Club

Going down to just two nights a week post-pandemic, Harvelle’s owner Sevin Clark knew he had to create something that inherently different and intriguing.

That something started as “Ringside,” a boxing-meets-speakeasy space where those training at Jack Rabbit’s Boxing Academy could actually spar—not formally box because that is sanctioned and overseen by the World Boxing Organization—which had a run at Harvelle’s until it had to stop in November.

“Every seat, every booth is a ringside seat with a cocktail waitress,” said Harvelle’s owner Sevin Clark. “We assemble and disassemble the ring for every event, we have a production company, we’ve invested—this is a thing we hope people grasp as much as much as we do. I want to make this thing really hum.”

Enter Jack Rabbit’s Boxing Social Club, represented by longtime Jack Rabbit Boxing Academy owner Ivan Sylve and his son Ashton “H2O” Sylve, whose own professional boxing career began before he graduated high school and is bourgeoning into one of the most impressive.

Working with none other than Long Beach legend Jeremy Williams—Long Beach’s knockout king, with two of his 35 knockouts coming before 30 seconds of the first round and Clark stating he’s “not Mike Tyson only because people paid attention to Mike Tyson”—and referee Jesse White, Clark is happy that the concept is returning in a way that assures safety, professionalism, and a way for some of our budding boxing talent to get actual ring time.

Even those outside of Harvelle’s want to see Jack Rabbit’s Boxing Social Club succeed

For Milana’s co-owner Adriel Fasci, Harvelle’s always represented something when it came to its monthly blues outing, where the underground space keeps its title as one of the most underrated live music joints—but for Fasci, there was something amazing about what was then an event that has been halted.

“I think they were trying to promote to boxing fans,” Fasci said. “And that is obvious but there is more to it than that. I think a lotta people not into boxing would find this as something they wanna experience. Hell, I even directly suggested a Beer Match: For one minute, they go at each other from the street to settle the bee.”

Oh yes, Fasci—ever the New Yorker—has suggested the joint allow those with mutual, punch-worthy gripe to strap on some headgear, sign a waiver, and go at it for a couple minutes in the ring. And yes, this is something that is being considered.

“I think this is something that is genuinely different, genuinely unique—with some of our best amateur boxing talent going at it,” Fasci said. “How can we not want to celebrate that?”

Jack Rabbit’s Boxing Social Club will take place again on Feb. 15 and tickets are $20. For more information, click here.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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