published Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Police, firefighters put gloves on for kids

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    Staff Photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press Firefighter Keith Liles, left, spars with trainer Dale Dagnan. Members of the Chattanooga Fire Department and Police Department work out and brush up on their boxing skills at Old Fire Hall #7 for the second annual Guns and Hoses boxing competition Saturday night. It will raise funds for the Forgotten Child Fund and Jabbin' for Jesus.

With headgear, boxing gloves and mouth guards in place, local law enforcement and firefighters will slug it out tonight for a good cause.

The second annual Guns and Hoses "Battle of the Badges" is today at the Chattanooga Convention and Trade Center, with doors opening at 6 p.m.

The event will benefit the Chattanooga Police and Fire Departments' Forgotten Child Fund, which helps provide Christmas gifts for underprivileged children in the Chattanooga area. Spectators are asked to bring an unwrapped toy to donate.

"The event is an exciting way for the community to support local charities, while having fun at the same time," said event coordinator Joe Smith, who coaches at Westside.

Battle of the Badges also raises funds for Westside Boxing Club, located at 1600 Central Ave. The boxing club is a delinquency prevention program that takes inner-city kids off the streets and teaches them boxing.

Last year, the fire department won seven of 11 matches and a friendly rivalry has been brewing leading up to this year, Smith said.

IF YOU GO

* What: second annual Guns and Hoses "Battle of the Badges"

* Where: Chattanooga Convention and Trade Center, 1150 Carter St.

* When: 6 p.m. doors open; 7 p.m. bouts tonight

* How much: $20 ringside seats; $10 adults general admission; $5 students general admission; $200 eight-seat ringside table

* Information: www.chattanoogagunsandhoses.com

Source: Guns and Hoses

"They have been talking about it since last year," he said. "The police department will be looking to even the score.

"The event is a good morale booster for both departments," he added.

The matches will consist of three one-minute rounds. Competitors will wear headgear and 16-ounce boxing gloves, larger than the standard 10-ounce professional glove, which offers less protection.

"It's almost like a pillow fight," Smith said. "However, it doesn't feel good."

On Wednesday night, the sounds of boxing gloves slapping punching mitts mixed with the constant clack of jump ropes hitting concrete as several competitors trained at Westside Boxing Club.

Fifty-year-old Chattanooga police Lt. Brian Cotter said he volunteered because he wanted to help the charities. In his three months of training, he's learned a lot about boxing, he said, mainly that "it's not easy."

"I thought it would be easy until I got in here," Cotter said Wednesday while leaning up against the ring ropes, catching his breath. "I didn't think I'd get winded."

Keith Liles, a 37-year-old Chattanooga firefighter, will make his second appearance in the ring after winning his Battle of the Badges match last year.

"It's tough. I've got a lot more respect for the guys who do 12 three-minute rounds," said Liles, dripping with sweat as he sat down after a training session.

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