MORGAN PARK — St. Cajetan Parish will host a series of amateur boxing matches from 6-10 p.m. Aug. 20 in its parking lot at 2447 W. 112th St. in Morgan Park.
The Ring Around the Warrior fundraiser will feature some 15 fights with contestants ages 10-37, according to Dan Letz, a trainer at the Celtic Boxing Club in Mount Greenwood and a St. Cajetan graduate.
Letz, 32, said several kids from his grade-school alma mater have been hanging out at the gym at 3012 W. 111th St., using boxing as a way to stay in shape for football, basketball and other sports. These workouts evolved into the fight night fundraiser.
"Everybody is talking about it. If the weather is nice, there is no reason there wouldn't be 1,000 people there," Letz said Friday, adding that all fighters will wear headgear and most will use gloves that exceed regulations for size.
Indeed, the ring will be set up outside if Mother Nature cooperates. If not, the ring will be moved into the school's gym and the fights will be simulcast into the adjacent cafeteria, known as Memorial Hall.
All of the fights will be three 1-minute rounds. Experienced referees will be on hand, and there will be no winners or losers called at the end of each bout. It will cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids to attend the event, Letz said.
Besides the kids, some good-natured, neighborhood grudge matches will also play out in the ring, Letz said. He cited a two adult buddies — one from St. John Fisher Parish in West Beverly, the other from Most Holy Redeemer in suburban Evergreen Park — among the anticipated participants.
The fight night promotion is being organized by St. Cajetan's Men's Club, according to longtime member Chuck Flynn of Morgan Park. He said the event will also include live music from The WEL along with food and a beer garden.
Flynn's sons, Aidan and Charlie, are excited about participating in the upcoming fights and are among the frequent visitors to the nearby gym. Thus, he's prepared to see his boys hand out a some punches as well as take a few shots.
"I think that will build a little character," Flynn said Monday.
He said the proceeds from the event will be used to help buy new technology for the school, and the men's club is eager to help out new principal Michelle Nitsche.
Both Flynn and Letz said the success of Ring Around the Warrior could lead to other schools mirroring the event. So fight night promotions could become commonplace should things go well.
Tommy McGuire, 12, of West Beverly is among the fighters that expect to step into the ring as part of the fundraiser. The seventh-grader from St. John Fisher was sparring with Charlie Flynn, 12, on Friday.
"It's just fun to me," McGuire said. "I was running out of sports to do. I thought I'd try something new."
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