Watch police trade punches Sunday to help ailing Aurora colleague
With a long background in karate, tae kwon do and judo, Batavia police officer John Kahl is as skilled with his feet as his fists.
Kicks will be forbidden Sunday as Kahl laces up the boxing gloves at East Aurora High School to trade punches for a good cause -- raising money to help pay medical expenses for Aurora police Sgt. Don Corp, a 16-year veteran.
Now on medical leave, the 36-year-old Corp has stage four pancreatic cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments.
Kahl, 26, of Plano, learned of the fundraiser during roll call a few months ago and has been working on cardio and hitting the heavy bag in preparation for this match of three 90-second rounds.
"I'm excited, stressed, but it all goes away after you get in the ring. Once you get hit the first time, you're OK," said Kahl, who is squaring off in five fights Sunday. "I'm always up for events like this, especially this case where I'm helping out a fellow officer."
Organizers of the "Officer Don Corp's Ultimate Fight Against Cancer" hope to raise at least $20,000 to help pay medical expenses. Doors at the school, 500 Tomcat Lane, open at 1:30 p.m. with amateur bouts beginning at 2 p.m. and the police fights at about 5 p.m.
Alfredo Dean, an Aurora police sergeant and president of the Aurora Chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Assocation, said the past three boxing nights have been to raise money for scholarships.
But the NLPOA board agreed that proceeds from this year's event should go to help Corp.
"It's the right thing to do. He's one of our own," Dean said. "If we don't help, who will?"
Sunday's law enforcement undercard is: Melrose Park police officer Giovanni Sullo vs. Kane County sheriff's deputy Danny Godinho; Aurora police officer Mark Balayut vs. Kane deputy Joe Salinas; FBI agent Burke Lanthorn vs. Kane deputy Brian Demeter; and Kahl vs. Kane deputy Alex Lopez.
The main event is Aurora police officer Ben Grabowski vs. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agent Art Albarran.
Two years ago, Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda bested Aurora Police Chief Greg Thomas in a charity bout.
Dean said the two chiefs said their match was a "one-and-done" affair, but Swoboda and Elgin police Cmdr. Ana Lalley, who also fought in 2013, will be celebrity judges.
Organizers also hope Corp will be able to attend.
Sullo said a sergeant at his department in Melrose Park fought last year, so he knows what to expect.
Growing up, Sullo's sport was football, but he relishes the challenge to compete and help Corp. Plus, Sullo's girlfriend is battling breast cancer, so he knows what the disease is like for friends and family members, too.
"It's a nice change of pace from lifting weights," Sullo said. "It's a fellow brother who needs a hand. They would do the same for me, so I am there for them."
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door for adults, $5 for kids 6 to 12.
For more information, call (630) 256-5625 or buy tickets at nlpoa-aurora.com.