Battle of the Badges

Officers brawling for belts, bragging rights
By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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If you like hitting people, what better sport to get involved in then boxing? On March 31 at Power Gym USA in Rancho Cordova, 13 bouts comprise the United Combat Association’s Battle of the Badges, which pits law enforcement officers, fire fighters and military personnel against one another in the ring. It’s an opportunity for these amateur boxers to strut their stuff. The fight card features four fights that involve people who work in Folsom. Rafael Heredia, a correctional officer at California State Prison, Sacramento, will fight Dru McDonald from Sac Metro Fire, while his colleague, Mike Gomez, will fight Richmond De Los Cientos of Sac Country Sheriff for the Northern California title. Also, Duke Juanitas of Folsom Prison will battle Adan Castillo of Yolo County, while in the main event, James “Doin Damage” Davis, also a correctional officer at Folsom Prison, will go toe-to-toe with Juan Bustamante of the Los Angeles Police Department for the light heavyweight championship belt. For the 6-foot, 1-inch, 245-pound Gomez, he hasn’t been fighting long but he certainly enjoys it. “I like punching people in the face,” the 27-year-old Gomez said. “It’s very fun. To me boxing is a form of competition that I don’t get anywhere else.” Davis, 30, has been boxing for two years and the sport helped transform his body from one that was out of shape to one that’s now in tip-top condition. “I was 240 pounds when I started boxing and was overweight and out of shape,” Davis said. “I’m down to 175 now and it’s been a hard roll to get there.” Davis has been in 11 fights in those two years, winning seven of them. He lost his last fight in November, but aims at turning that result around this time. “I haven’t had a knockout yet, but the night of the 31st I’ll be working on that,” Davis said. Davis spends three days a week in the gym, while getting his cardio work in on the weekends. Heredia, 38, is 6’2” and tips the scales at 220 pounds. He’s been a correctional office in Folsom for 13 years and fought in the original Battle of the Badges in 2003. After leaving the sport for a few years, he returned two years ago. “I enjoy the competition and it goes to a good cause,” Heredia said. “It motivates me to stay in shape and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.” Tickets for the Battle of the Badges are $20 and can be purchased at Weigh-ins for the fights will be held at 6 p.m. on March 30 at Folsom Lake Bowl and Sports Bar & Casino. Battle of the Badges What: Amateur boxing Who: Police, fire and military personnel When: 7 p.m., March 31 Where: Power Gym USA, 11327 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova Cost: $20 Tickets/Info: