The NYPD and the FDNY will go at it in the "Battle of the Badges" for the 29th year on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
The proceeds will benefit US Marine Corps First Lieutenant James Byler of Huntington, NY and Atlas Cops & Kids Boxing Gym and Learning Center in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
Tickets for the “Battle of the Badges” are priced at $65.00, $50.00, and $30.00, and are currently on sale and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets or online at www.thegarden.com.
The FDNY Boxing team will donate proceeds earned from the event to the organization Building Homes for Heroes, to build a home for United States Marine Corps First Lieutenant James Byler of Huntington, NY. On October 17, 2010, U.S. Marine First Lieutenant James Byler, an infantry platoon leader with the Third Battalion, 5th Marines, Camp Pendleton, California, lost both his legs and pinky fingers on both hands when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) while leading his platoon in Northern Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
First Lieutenant Byler, a graduate of Huntington High School and Purdue University, received a hero's welcome upon returning to his Huntington, Long Island home to spend Christmas 2010 with his family. He has been awarded a Purple Heart.
The FDNY Boxing team has teamed up with Building Homes for Heroes and hope to raise enough money to pay for major home renovations to meet Lt. Byler’s needs. In the past several years, the FDNY Bravest Boxing team has donated more than $50,000 to military related charities.
In addition, the NYPD boxing team will donate part of the proceeds to open another Atlas Cops & Kids Boxing Gym and Learning Center in Brownsville, Brooklyn. This new boxing gym will provide free boxing training to youth ages 12 through 21 and provide a safe place for area kids. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s event will also go to the Atlas Cops & Kids Boxing Program with the ultimate goal to open a free boxing program in every borough of New York City.
The partnership between the Atlas Foundation and the NYPD Boxing Team has produced great results, including two boxing gyms open and operational in Park Hill, Staten Island and Flatbush Gardens, Brooklyn with two additional facilities opening before the end of this year in Brownsville, Brooklyn and in the Berry Houses in Staten Island.
Proceeds from previous Battle of the Badge boxing events have allowed three amateur boxers including Marcus Browne (Staten Island), Christina Cruz (New York City), and Pedro Sosa (Bronx, NY) realize their dream of possibly representing the United States on the 2012 Olympic Team.
The rivalry between the badges began back in 1982 with the all-time record currently standing at 15 victories for the FDNY against 13 for the NYPD. The FDNY boxing team will be looking for an unprecedented fourth straight victory.
The night will feature 12 three-round matches with highlights featuring FDNY Captain Tim McGuinness against NYC Department of Correction Captain Charles Matthews in a Super Heavyweight matchup. FDNY Firefighter Felipe Irizarry squares off against NYPD Tito Medina in a rematch from last year and FDNY and World Police & Fire Games Gold Medalist, Joe Shiraldo goes up against NYPD Johhny Ishaq.
In a women’s feature attraction, Susan Merlucci-Reno, a 2007 Golden Gloves and Metro’s champ who fought in the Nationals and who is married to retired FDNY boxing crowd favorite Fireman Michael Reno, will square off against Christina Cruz, one of New York’s most accomplished amateur boxers, currently ranked third in the nation at 112 pounds, a five-time NY Golden Gloves champ and the first American female to step into the ring at the Pan American games.