PORAC Members Prepare to Square Off at Epic Battle of the Badges Boxing Event
With over six years on the force, Jose Espinoza (Fresno County DSA) is one of countless peace officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve our communities.
But on April 15, Espinoza will trade his badge for a pair of boxing gloves when he looks to capture the lightweight championship at the United Combat Association (UCA)’s Battle of the Badges event at the Visalia Convention Center.
The UCA is a ranking, sanctioning boxing organization that was created in 2009 by Tom Gaffney, a former boxer and current Folsom corrections officer, as a way to stay involved in the sport he loved while also giving an opportunity to the many talented boxers in the public safety field. The group brings peace officers, firefighters and military personnel together to give our country’s heroes a healthy and competitive outlet away from the job while also putting on thrilling, hard-fought bouts that benefit charities.
“Each event has a great family atmosphere,” says UCA co-founder Nichole Martinez, whose husband is a detective with the Fresno Police Department. “We have professional photographers and videographers to capture all the action. The DJ is playing music to get the crowd on their feet. There is a light show and a video wall, and food and drinks are served. There are also VIP tables for the dignitaries, ringside seats and general admission seating.”
The UCA’s biggest event of the year, Battle of the Badges, once again features a stacked event, with a majority of the card including PORAC members who are itching for their chance to get in the ring and prove themselves.
In addition to Espinoza, several of PORAC’s own will also aim to capture championship gold, including:
- Juan Moreno (Tulare POA, junior heavyweight championship)
- Kristine Barklow (Fresno POA, masters super welterweight championship)
- Richard Reynaga (Gardena POA, masters middleweight championship)
- Chad Madrid (Santa Monica POA, middleweight championship)
There’s also a can’t-miss PORAC-versus-PORAC matchup between Ruben Llamas (Kings County Detentions Deputy Association) and Juan Hernandez (Tulare County DSA) in the super cruiserweight division.
Other PORAC members competing on April 15 include Juan Valle (Madera County DSA), Eddie Gonzalez (Visalia POA Teamsters 856), Jessica Segovia (Beaumont POA) and Armando Franco (Tulare POA).
“The event will feature some of the best public safety amateur boxers in the country battling it out for championship belts, medals, awards and charities,” Martinez says. “The UCA is the only public safety promotion where boxers will be ranked and given an opportunity to compete for the most prestigious award in public safety boxing — a UCA championship. Participants may also receive a gold or silver medal, a fight of the night award, a gladiator award or a golden fists award.”
Someone who knows firsthand how beneficial the UCA is to peace officers is PORAC member Lindsay Dozier of the Fresno POA, who won a gold medal in boxing at the World Police and Fire Games in 2010 and captured the UCA NorCal featherweight championship in 2012.
“I think it’s important for us to continue our fitness journeys throughout our careers, and the UCA does a great job of promoting law enforcement boxing in California,” she says. “The best part is the camaraderie it builds among officers. I loved seeing my co-workers in the crowd and hearing them cheer for me. It brought us all together in a positive way outside of our profession!”
For those who want to cheer on their PORAC brothers and sisters, please visit tinyurl.com/mtns22a6 to purchase tickets. Be sure to also visit the UCA YouTube channel (UCAUnitedCombat) for more nonstop action.