Elgin community activist to box Kane County sheriff in 'Hands Up, Guns Down' charity match
A pair of community heavy hitters will duke it out Saturday night in Elgin for charity.
It's Marcus "The People's Champ" Banner versus Sheriff Ron "Justice in Action" Hain in the "Hands Up, Guns Down" charity fight night at O.N.E. Fitness Center.
"It's gonna be epic. It's gonna be fun," Banner said. "There's definitely going to be some bumps and bruises."
The three-round Banner vs. Hain matchup is the main event on a card that features a handful of other fights. The event will also include performances by local musicians, dancers and spoken word artists between the bouts.
Money raised from in-person tickets sales and pay-per-view streaming go to benefit the O.N.E. Fitness Center, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit that Banner opened in Tyler Creek Plaza shopping center last year. The gym is open to all but focused on low-income, at-risk youths.
The center has had three or four fundraising fight nights since the gym opened, Banner said.
"The 'Hands Up, Guns Down' idea was started by my nephew Anthony Barracks," Banner said. "Challenging his friends and peers to put their guns down, and if they have a beef, to settle it in the ring and not the streets."
Banner helped Barracks move the fights from backyards to a gym in Schaumburg and ultimately to O.N.E. Fitness Center.
"Once you get the guys in the gym, they start fighting for the purpose of 'guns down,' but it also provokes thought in their mind of how they can become the best version of themselves," he said. "And they start training, then they start interacting with the coaches. Now they start changing their mindset as men. Instead of just being guys who fight, they become true fighters, true warriors, and they start becoming better men."
Previous fight nights drew 150 to 200 people before the pandemic, but they're limiting socially distanced attendance Saturday to 50 tickets. "Otherwise, for this fight, I'm sure we'd have people lined up out the doors to get in," Banner said.
The event will also be offered as a pay-per-view. Limited tickets may still be available, or the PPV can be purchased through Eventbrite. The link can be found on the O.N.E. Fitness Center's Facebook page. In-person tickets are $50, while it's $15 to stream.
As for his moment in the ring Saturday, Banner offered this prediction: "The people's champ is going to bring it home. It can't happen any other way."