Hawthorn Woods mayor to get in the boxing ring Friday for charity
Business casual is the suggested dress Friday night as the boxing gym at the Libertyville Sports Complex is transformed into a showplace for the third "Badges vs Bad Guys" bouts for charity.
The event is organized by Larry Lentz, operator of the Toughman sports conditioning program and the Conquer Fight Club at the complex.
Cops, firefighters and local politicians are pitted against "regular Joes" in sanctioned boxing matches to raise funds for at-risk and other youths who otherwise couldn't afford to join Lentz's program.
"Traditionally, I give out 20 freebies. My normal fee is $150 a month so that's $1,800 bucks of gym dues," he said.
The card is full, with 30 bouts featuring contestants of varying ages and talents.
Hawthorn Woods Mayor Joe Mancino will be among the "celebrities" in the ring.
"I was asked in the past but was always too chicken and out of shape to accept," he said. "But I started exercising last year on my own and jumped at the chance."
Doors open for cocktails at 6 p.m. and bouts begin at 7:30 p.m., at the Sports Complex, Route 45 and Peterson Road. General admission is $30 with various prices for full tables and front-row seats. Tickets are available at the door or by calling (847) 345-5666.
Each bout is three rounds of 90 seconds each. Participants are required to train with Lentz or a certified coach ahead of time.
"I've been training there for seven weeks and hopefully know enough to not to have my head knocked off," Mancino said.
Fighters do not need any boxing experience and are matched by age, weight and ability.
That was somewhat of a challenge for Mancino, 51, who stands 5-foot-6 and has dropped to 150 pounds. He's fighting in the masters division, which is ages 36 and older. Opponents have to be within 10 years in age and 10 pounds in weight.
Mancino, who hasn't boxed before, jokingly has invited visitors to attend to see him get punched in the face. While there have been ample physical benefits of the training, raising funds is the main thing, he says.
"A lot of them are kids with problems at home or at school. Any impact at all can change their direction," Mancino said.