Tag Archives: Battle of the Badges

Firefighter makes way back to boxing for a cause


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Jack Kirrane took a five year break from the FDNY’s Bravest Boxing team.

From 2007 to 2012, the Queens-born firefighter focused on being a father and doing his normal duty at Ladder 38 in Harlem.

Over the last year, however, Kirrane, 37, has been staging a comeback into the sport he started in as a kid growing up in Douglaston.

“It’s actually probably the best it’s been so far,” Kirrane said of his fighting and conditioning. “Now, being older, I stick more to my training regimen, instead of before when I was younger.”

Kirrane, who joined Bravest Boxing 10 years ago, faced off against John Butler of the London Metro Police department in the latest installment of the “Battle of the Badges” on Friday, April 12 at Resorts World Casino New York City.

Kirrane and Butler, both fighting with a similar orthodox style in the 178 master class, battled for all three of their two-minute rounds. When Kirrane swung, Butler swung. Butler threw a right, Kirrane, expectedly, blocked.

Facing off against a style similar to his own, Kirrane said was “fun when you win. That style can be very punishing at the other end too.”

In the end, the referees deemed Kirrane the winner, giving him a 5-0 record against the Brits, making it three victories stateside; two across the pond.

It was, Kirrane said, a good way to continue his record since coming back last year: 3-0.

Aside from meeting with teammates every Tuesday and Thursday to spar in Brooklyn, Kirrane, like many other firefighters, has to train on his own free time – something that’s a precious commodity.

Because cardio is more important that weight lifting when getting ready for a fight, Kirrane said he’s mapped out a three-and-a-half mile course to run around his Nassau neighborhood. When he’s off, taking care of his children, he will normally put them in a double stroller and bring them along.

“It’s very difficult to find the time to train. Especially [when] you’re getting close to a fight, you’ve got to train more.”

Spending the first 33 years of his life in Queens, Kirrane and his brother were introduced to boxing at a young age by their father, who was a member of the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan. The brothers Kirrane, now both firefighters, trained in the club’s Saturday morning youth program.

But what Kirrane said drove him to shake the rust off relatively quickly was the causes Bravest Boxing fights for.

All monies raised at the April 12 fight, which featured six other men’s bouts and two women’s, went to Building Homes for Heroes, which builds houses for disabled Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Along with this charity, Bravest Boxing in the past has helped other veterans’ charities such as Wounded Warriors.

“Whenever we’re fighting over here it’s for charity,” he said. “It’s definitely very rewarding when you’re boxing for charity. It [training and fighting] makes it a lot easier when you’re doing it for a good cause.”

 

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FDNY boxers take the ring for charity


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

This time, instead of their gear, they donned boxing gloves.

Several FDNY firefighters took part in the “Battle of the Badges” on Friday, September 14 at Resorts World Casino New York City — the first-ever boxing match at a city casino.

The action in the ring started with the first match of amateur boxers Ali Salem and Omawaie Adewale.

The night really began, however, when Todd Velten, a firefighter in Lower Manhattan, took off his robe — fashioned after an FDNY service jacket. Every blow from the boxer resulted in cheers from his fellow firefighters. Nearly every spectator from the FDNY became a coach, yelling advice for Velten as he took on opponent Angel Castro.

When the referee lifted Velten’s arm to officiate his victory, the cheers from the scores of firefighters and FDNY supporters could be heard throughout the third floor of the Racino.

Velten’s match was followed by super heavyweight and fellow FDNY John Phillips, who faced John Rosales from Universal Boxing Organization. Though the two tired as the match went on, the energy from the crowd only continued to grow.

Eddie Brown, the Bronx trustee for the Uniformed Firefighters Association, sat ringside and was one of those cheering on the FDNY boxers. A former fighter and trainer on the FDNY team, Brown said it was amazing how dedicated some blaze battlers were to another kind of fight during their downtime.

“These guys work hard,” Brown said. “They’re going to fight fires, and then they’re training on their days off.”

The matches were intended to be primarily against members of the New England Law Enforcement team, whom the FDNY fought at Foxwoods in Connecticut earlier this year, said Bobby Maguire, who organized the event. Because of problems with the northeastern team, only a few were able to fight, including Jose De la Rosa, who sparred off against Shariff Farrow from the FDNY.

Most of the money raised by ticket sales to the event, after costs to organize the matches are handled, will go toward a number of charities to help veterans and fellow firefighters, Maguire said. Along with ticket sales, a 50/50 raffle raised about $2,600 to go toward the Wounded Warriors Foundation, which helps disabled veterans get new homes.