Police and firefighters step into the boxing ring for the 28th annual Guns n’ Hoses

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – It takes strength, endurance and fast reflexes to be a first responder. These are all the same traits you need to step into a boxing ring. Now, an event two months overdue and rescheduled for the New Year is finally ringing the bell.

“Twenty-eighth annual and they started in 1987 and since that time they’ve raised 4.5 million dollars for Backstoppers,” says Chief Ron Battelle, Executive Director The Backstoppers.

Earlier today, Backstoppers executive director Ron Battelle talked about the six months of training and sweat equity put into the 16 three-round bouts that make up the annual event. The money raised goes to families of first responders to help pay bills, mortgages and even college costs, long after their loved one is gone.

“In 1959 we were formed,” says Battelle.  “Since that time we’ve assisted 141 families unfortunately.  We’re currently taking care of 66 families including 64 kids.  So our obligation is a big one.”

Police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel from both sides of the river will take part in both boxing and mixed martial arts.  And while they all see eye to eye on where tonight’s money raised will go, sometimes its okay to square off face to face for a good cause.