UPDATE: On Friday night at the Guns and Hoses Battle of the Badges, the contingent of East Ridge firefighters went 1-for-3 in their amateur boxing debut.
Aaron “Sloppy” Smith prevailed in his match with Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office’s Steven Robertson. Smith said that his brother, Brandon Clark, lost in a slugfest with his opponent. Young Josh Williams was defeated by one of the “badges.”
Smith said that if Clark’s match was judged by the crowd his brother would have won.
“It could have gone either way,” Smith said of his brother’s match. “I saw the guy he fought backstage and his nose was really bloody. He lost a tough one.”
Smith said that he was outside “still trying to catch his breath” from his match and saw none of Williams’ match.
Smith said the experience was great and he “had a great time.” He’s considering boxing again in next year’s “Guns and Hoses” Battle of the Badges event.
For the first time in its nine-year history “Guns and Hoses” Battle of the Badges – a charity boxing match pitting cops against firefighters – will have a contingent from the City of East Ridge.
Brandon Clark, Aaron Smith and Josh Williams, three young firefighters for the ERFD, will lace up boxing gloves and climb inside the ring to show what they really know about what’s been called “the sweet science.”
Smith, 29, who has no boxing experience, said he went to the event last year and watched fellow East Ridge firefighter Drew Andrews box. That got him to thinking about signing up for this year’s event.
“You know, hanging out with my buddies we would throw on the gloves and box around a bit, but it’s a different world inside the ring,” said Smith who has been training week in and week out for the past three months. “I asked a guy with experience about how do you prepare for the cardio workout in the ring? He said, ‘there’s nothing you can do except get in there and do it over and over and over.'”
Guns and Hoses is set for Friday night at the Chattanooga Convention Center. The first match is slated for 7:30 p.m. Proceeds from the event will go to Y-CAP, the YMCA’s after-school boxing program and the Forgotten Child Fund.
Andrews got involved with Y-CAP last year, and after training for two weeks entered the ring in a Guns and Hoses bout.
“I’d never done anything like this before, I was always a team sports guy,” Andrews said. “I’d never been in a ring before and you just don’t know how you are going to react until someone hits you to see if you can handle it.
“I got the brakes beat off me,” he admitted candidly.
Andrews’s lack of boxing skills didn’t diminish his enthusiasm for the Y-CAP boxing program. He said that Andy Smith, the Y-CAP director asked him to recruit his fellow firefighters from East Ridge for this year’s event. Andrews said that a fire hall is “filled with testosterone” and that he used any and all methods to get some of his brothers to climb into the ring.
“People could run their mouths all they wanted,” he said. “I wanted them to put their money where their mouth is.”
There will be 19 matches this year between fire and police, including four matches with women boxers. Andrews, who is helping frame the matches, said the bouts will pair opponents of comparable age, skill level and size. Boxers will be represented by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Chattanooga fire and police, Hamilton County EMS and others from as far away as Cleveland.
The matches are sanctioned by USA Boxing, and the participants are registered as amateur fighters. The East Ridge boxers had to come up with registration fees, insurance and equipment. Those costs are being offset by sponsorships from Fit Plus Foods, Southern Roots Salon and the Corner Cafe, Williams said.
The event has sold out of 50-plus tables reserved for prices between $300 and $500. There are still general admission tickets on sale for $15.
The Y-CAP program, Andrews said, is an after-school program designed to keep young people out of trouble. Y-CAPS’s Boxing Club is more than just boxing, however. Participants are able to train and compete in local and national competitions, but more than that, they are taught values, family and Christian principles. Children ages 8-17 may train for free, and adults for a monthly fee. Private lessons are available on request.
For more information on Y-CAP boxing go to its Facebook page.