By Lance Cpl. Chelsea Flowers, Headquarters Marine Corps
ST. LOUIS — Every Marine is instilled with a warrior ethos, always poised and ready to fight when needed. At the First to Fight Boxing Event June 20, Marines, participating in Marine Week St. Louis, were invited to prove their fighting prowess against St. Louis police officers and firefighters.
The Scottrade Center was packed with supporters of both the Marines and local boxers. Some of the crowd sat at tables around the ring, eating, drinking and cheering on their fighters while the rest filled the front rows of the arena.
The thrill of the fight, while the most entertaining, was not the focus of the night. All proceeds from the event went to Toys for Tots, Backstoppers and the Semper Fi Society of St. Louis, organizations that support the families of fallen first responders and Marines, respectively.
“As long as the money gets to the right people, that’s all that matters. And to have fun doing it,” said Sgt. Seth Forbes, a boxer in the competition and a motor transport mechanic with 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Marine Week.
Each Marine boxer was pitted against a member of the St. Louis police or fire departments for three rounds or a knock-out, whichever came first. A majority of the Marine boxers had never boxed professionally and jumped on this unique opportunity at the last minute.
“Who doesn’t want to box a police officer and get away with it?” said Lance Cpl. Dennis Wiatt, a competitor and a data technician specialist, 3/24, and St. Louis native. “That’s what sold me over.” Throughout the course of the evening, there were enough blows to the head, hooks, knock-downs and even one near topple over the ropes to keep the crowd roaring all night.
While the Marines came out victorious, the amateur boxing event gave Marines and St. Louisans a chance to engage in some friendly competition while giving back to the families of those who were lost or injured protecting them. The Marine Corps and the people of St. Louis will never forget the dedication and sacrifice of those brave men and women.