About 250 persons were turned away last night from the television showing of the heavyweight title fight at the Washington Hilton Hotel after a D.C. fire official said the hotel ballroom already was filled to capacity. An estimated 45 police officers were called to the scene to calm the angry crowd.
Those shut out, many of them vocally upset, were told that they could receive immediate refunds of the $35 or $40 price for tickets to the closed-circuit showing of the fight between Larry Holmes and Gerry Cooney. Many began to line up outside the hotel at once, and refunds were being paid late last night.
The fight also was screened at the D.C. Armory. No major difficulties were reported there.
Meanwhile, 3rd District police said they arrested two Northwest Washington men yesterday on charges of possession of stolen tickets to be used at the Armory. They said the arrests followed an investigation of the alleged theft of blank tickets from a print shop.
Authorities said they could not immediately explain how the situation at the Hilton had occurred, but said it was possible that counterfeit tickets were involved. Officials also said it was possible that some of the tickets stolen at the print shop might have found their way into circulation and been used at the hotel.