Former Philadelphia boxing venue owner hopes history can be preserved

Thursday, March 25, 2021

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Since 1938, The Blue Horizon in North Philadelphia was the place where young fighters started careers, and where older boxers hung up their gloves.

"The Blue Horizon was like the gold house seal, even though you might have been starting out, you had to have a real gritty talent," said former co-owner Veronica Michael.

The five-story building in the 1300 block of North Broad was purchased in 1994 by Michael and her business partner. It became the backbone of the local fight schedule for years.

Veronica Michael

With its old-world charm and a balcony so close to the action, the venue attracted television coverage on cable networks and its reputation went through the roof.

But Michael will tell you that it wasn't easy breaking through the male-dominated sport. Especially when she dared to become the first African-American boxing promoter.

"The answer was that I couldn't," she said when asked about breaking barriers. "Because there is not an African-American female boxing promoter, licensed boxing promoter. And I got mad."

Suffice to say that Michael won and would soon become known as the "Queen of the Ring."

"I know that I had the resources to do it, but I guess because I was an African-American woman, other people didn't believe that I had the resources," said Michael.

Ring Magazine, which is considered the bible of boxing, listed Blue Horizon as the number one boxing venue in the world.

In the year 2000, the Blue Horizon became an official Philadelphia historical site. But in 2010, the building fell into despair and the Blue Horizon's glorious run came to an end.

Michael says The Blue is now for sale and its future up in the air. She is hoping its legacy can be preserved.