Fighting For a Good Cause
Boxing is like a violent chess match; counter every move your opponent makes. Add that nervous feeling that comes when the overhead ring lights become bright enough for a surgeon to operate. The bell rings and the fight starts as your opponent approaches with a plan to throw punches at you. Failure to block out incoming punches can be painful, especially when you wake up. Yet you have a plan too, and your punches will soon be thrown and hopefully some will connect.
Imagine boxing in front of several hundred people while trying not to catch a hard right to your jaw. Police and fire fighters from the Kansas City area will soon take this boxing challenge in the Guns N’ Hoses Boxing Tournament for a great cause.
Proceeds from the Guns N’ Hoses boxing tournament go to the S.A.F.E. program, the Kansas City Crime Commission’s Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Fund. This program provides financial assistance to the families of police officers, fire fighters and emergency service personal who are killed in the line of duty in a nine county Kansas City metro area.
“We are having one of our main fund raisers on November 14 in the Grand Ball Room at Bartle Hall,” says Sonny Wilson, executive director of the S.A.F.E Program. “This is a boxing event between police officers and fire fighters. This is our 10th year for our boxing tournament and it’s an enjoyable event. We are always looking for people to attend this special evening. The fighters take their bouts very seriously.”
The evening will feature 12 bouts, both male and female fighters. This will be a return for some who previously fought in this tournament, but a first for a few who are not sure what to expect.
“This will be my first fight and I’m excited to participate,” says Jerry Deering, North Kansas City policeman. “I wrestled in front of crowds, but this will be my first boxing match. I had to study the rules of boxing. I have trained several weeks at the Police Athletic League Gym. I heard of this last year and knew it was an event I wanted to be involved with. I have always loved competitive sports and this is for a great cause.”
Fighters are required to workout in 20 training sessions before being considered to box. This may include boxing, jumping rope, running and assorted tactics for achieving top physical conditioning. Basic fundamentals of boxing are taught to those who have never fought before. This includes throwing different types of punches, protection from punches and many other aspects of boxing.
Each fighter is paired with an opponent of his or her age and weight. Boxing trainers videotape each fighter and then study the tapes before deciding competition levels. This ensures a fair, well matched fight. Most experienced boxers that fought in the Golden Gloves, military or other venues are not considered for this tournament. Most of the fighters have only fought in the S.A.F.E Tournament.
“Boxing matches consist of three, one-minute rounds,” Wilson says. “A one minute round may sound short, but raising your arms to hit or avoid being hit sometimes makes a minute seem a lot longer.”
Fighters are fitted with 12-ounce boxing gloves, head gear and mouth pieces. Ring doctors are present at every fight and the fight is governed by Golden Gloves referees. Bouts are stopped when one individual is overpowering their opponent. Only one injury has occurred in the tournament’s 10-year history when a boxer tripped backwards and hit his neck on the ring rope. He was hospitalized overnight and released.
Last year’s event made about $15,000 and the year before made about $28,000. The event hopes to make as much as possible to help these families. Raising attendance of this event is a priority. A common sized crowd is about 1,500 people. A V.I.P party is held before the fights for supporters that buy tables in the south-end glass enclosure overlooking Bartle Hall. Opportunities are made available for pictures with ring girls and other activities to make this event special.
“I want to perform well and be competitive, win or lose,” Deering says. “I just want to put on a good show and make money for a good cause. But make no mistake; I am not stepping in the ring to lose.”