Randy Caballero & Israel Vazquez Among Celebrity Guests
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ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE?
The men and women of law enforcement say they are ready as the latest installment of the SoCal “Battle of the Badges” amateur boxing show begins with a bang THIS Saturday night, July 21, at the Agua Caliente Casino, Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, near Palm Springs, California. Tickets are going fast and it is expected to be another sell out so get yours as soon as possible.
Hosted by the Cops 4 Kids & Communities (C4KC) nonprofit organization, this is always one of my favorite events to cover. There will be nonstop action between the firefighters and police officers as they battle for braggin’ rights all in the name of charity. I have been attending their shows for years and have watched their live fight nights continue to grow and expand. Now for the first time, their event will be held at Agua Caliente’s famed The Show arena.
This sizzling summer show will feature a squad of special guest judges including pro fighter Randy Caballero, and past champs and professional prizefighters Israel Vazquez, Stevie Quinonez, Mando Muniz and Danny “Little Red” Lopez. The night will also include live entertainment, a fierce Ring Card girl competition and the always-popular comedy duo of Ken Southern and Mark Blanton.
I caught up with C4KC’s Executive Director and former officer Jeff Penn, who was putting the finishing touches on tonight’s weigh-in. He raved about the The Show venue where I can also attest there’s not a bad seat in the house. The nonprofit veteran works tirelessly, along with Chairman Richard Perry, Riverside’s Rebekah “The Cookie Lady” Ford, and all the committee members, Board of Directors and sponsors to ensure monies continue to be raised to benefit at-risk and underprivileged youth. “Let’s Reach Them Before We Have To Rescue Them” is their goal with all of the C4KC’s offerings.
“This Saturday is going to be a great night with exciting matches and nonstop action,” Jeff says. “We have some female bouts on the card and I gotta tell you, Michele, the women’s fights are always the best! The girls really go nonstop from start to finish; they are real crowd pleasers.”
All the brave gladiators go all out in this highly-anticipated showdown.
The demand for policemen, sheriffs, first responders, border patrol, corrections officers and EMTs to fight on the shows has been so strong that Penn will be presenting a whopping FOUR shows this year. The first show of 2012 was held in March March at Pala Casino, Spa & Resort and this weekend’s bash will be at Agua Caliente with two more clashes on tap. Thanks to the support of the sponsors and surrounding communities, the former peace officer is proud to report two upcoming shows later in the year.
“We’re planning a September 7 at Pechanga,” Jeff revealed during our phone chat. “And then on December 1, it will be the charity’s first-ever ALL FEMALE fight night edition of the “Battle of the Badges”! This will take place at Pala. We’ve had a lot of interest in this and you’ll see some great fights between the women.” If you are a member female member of law enforcement and would like to fight in December, you can sign up at www.socalbattleofthebadges.com.
And for fight fans in the Palm Springs area and beyond, you’re in for a treat this Saturday. The main event will feature Jamaal “Silent Knight” Brathwaite versus Brian Stevens.
“Jamaal is from Orange County and has fought six times on the show now,” Frank Martinez, a member of Team Brathwaite told me. Martinez is also the C4KC’s CDC (California Department of Corrections) Liaison. “Jamaal is fighting for a championship belt! It’s a very nice belt,” Frank adds, right before he left for the weigh-in. “And Stevens is a hell of a fighter so it should be a good fight–but I still think Jamaal is gonna knock him out. He better knock him out!” Martinez then laughs as he knows it’s all in the name of charity and raising funds for the kids.
You’ll see plenty of fisticuffs for a good cause, while knowing you helped contribute to a worthwhile charity. There will also be a presentation in which U.S. Marine Corporal Christopher Farias will be honored as well as fallen Officer Jermaine Gibson.
Another new addition to this July outing will be a pool party after the matches have ended. “The ‘Fight of the Night’ honors and the winner of the Ring Card girl contest will be announced poolside after the fights,” Penn confirmed right before we signed off.
Check out some of my photos from previous C4KC’s “Battle of the Badges” events.
And be sure to get your tickets as soon as possible–it’s on track to be another sell out!
C4KC’s “Battle of the Badges” at Agua Caliente
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Doors Open 5:15 PM
First Bout 6 PM
(All bouts subject to change)
Ringside 35.00/ General Admission 25.00
Photos by Michele Chong
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