The Call of Different Kind of Bell

Queens Courier - December 17, 2009

by ADAM MISCH

When a Fire Department of New York (FDNY) firefighter hears the bell ring at the firehouse, he suits up to battle fires and restores order during hectic situations. However, Saturday, January 16, the FDNY will be battling other opponents when the bell sounds.

At 8 p.m. sharp, the annual Bravest Boxing Smoker event will be held at Christ the King High School, located at 68-02 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Ring 8 organization.

The Wounded Warrior Project is a support group for soldiers who were wounded or injured while serving their country. Ring 8 is an association that provides care for retired or injured boxers.

"We hooked up with Wounded Warrior right after 9/11 - we became aware of all the wounded veterans and decided to help," said Bobby McGuire, president and manager of the FDNY Bravest Team boxing organization.

These brave firemen look to stand toe-to-toe with an open casting call of amateur boxers from gyms all around the city.

Ranging from 24- to 34-year-olds, these FDNY boxers train twice a week to gear up for this long-awaited event. The team fights around six times a year and has just over 20 fighters who come from every borough in the city.

"These are real competitive fights," said McGuire, who is a retired FDNY firefighter. "We are fighting against young kids who do this for a living - we aren't too shabby either."

Mike Reno, a fireman from Engine 33 in Manhattan's East Village, looks to showcase his competitive talent in front of a live audience. Being born and raised in Whitestone, Queens, Reno takes pride in representing his borough.

"I'm really excited to participate in this event because of the great charities that we are working with," said the 34-year-old Reno, who has been a fireman and boxer for eight years. "I love fighting in Queens . . . it's my hometown!"

Tickets are available at the door, but for prefight ticket sales, contact Kevin Kirrane at 646-872-1122.