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Battle of the Badges Pits Chicago Police Vs. Firefighters in the Ring

 The Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Fire Department are hosting the 12th Annual Battle of the Badges at 6 p.m. Friday, April 11, 2014. The event will be held at De La Salle Institute, at 3434 S. Michigan Ave.
Battle of the Badges
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PORTAGE PARK — Steven Archer trains all year for three minutes of action.

Archer, an eight-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, is a member of the Police Department boxing team that will compete in Friday's Battle of the Badges against the Chicago Fire Department.

The 12th annual fundraiser — which features fights of three one-minute rounds — takes place at De La Salle Institute, 3434 S. Michigan Ave., and begins at 7 p.m.

Justin Breen talks to DNAinfo Radio about a battle between police officers and firefighters:

Archer, 41, started boxing two years ago, and his first career fight was an April 5, 2013, victory over a Fire Department opponent.

The Belmont Cragin resident and Hubbard High School graduate puts a serious amount of effort into his preparation. He works out four times a week, which consists of running 3 miles, jumping rope for 23 minutes, shadow boxing in front of a mirror or in the ring for four rounds, and completing 100 pushups and situps.

 Chicago Police Officer Steven Archer (r.) won his fight at last year's Battle of the Badges at De La Salle Institute.
Chicago Police Officer Steven Archer (r.) won his fight at last year's Battle of the Badges at De La Salle Institute.
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Battle of the Badges

His conditioning occurs either outside or indoors at Edison Park's Brooks Park, Oakley Fight Club in West Town or the Portage Park field house, where Archer burned calories Sunday.

"I work so hard because I have a tremendous respect for boxing," Archer said. "Boxing is nothing to play around with. Talent can only get you so far, and you can outwork somebody with more talent than you."

Archer hopes to win big again this year in front of the 3,000 spectators who annually fill up the De La Salle gym. There will be between eight and 12 bouts this year, according to Battle of the Badges committee member and  Chicago Police Officer Katie Chiczewski. The pugilists are paired up by similar age and weight, Chiczewski said.

Chiczewski, of Norwood Park, said the event has raised more than $500,000 for charity since its inception. She estimates about $40,000 will be raised this year, with most of the money split between the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and Ignite the Spirit Fund.

"I give the boxers a lot of credit because it takes a lot of courage for them to get in the ring," Chiczewski said.

Archer said he was nervous last year, but that quickly faded after he landed a few punches. He noted that fighting under bright lights is nothing to compared to the pressures of his job, where he works 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the Grand Central District on the Northwest and West Sides.

"You see a lot of things that most people wouldn't want to see," Archer said. "It can be horrible, but I enjoy helping people when I can."

Archer, who has lost 30 pounds since joining the CPD boxing team, wants to fight for at least a few more years.

He also hopes to pass on his boxing knowledge to his the youngest of his five children, 4-year-old Aiden, who has his own boxing gloves, sometimes comes to practices with dad and will be at the Battle of the Badges.

"I will be boxing for as long as I can," Archer said. "I like the competition. When it's just you and the other person, you really have to be ready for anything."

The 12th Annual Battle of the Badges is Friday at De La Salle Institute. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m. Presale tickets are $15 and available by calling 312-747-5824. Tickets at the door are $20. For more information, click here.