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FDNY’s bravest to box Irish police for charity in the ‘War on the West Side’ at Terminal 5

The event will raise money for the Homes for Heroes organization.


The "War on the West Side" boxing exhibition will pit Irish policeman against New York firefighters in the ring on March 30. Photo Credit: FDNY Boxing

From fighting flames to fighting with fists, New York City’s firefighters are pulling on their boxing gloves to go head-to-head with a league of Irish policemen this month.

The 2018 Transatlantic Championship, dubbed the “War on the West Side,” will pit FDNY’s toughest against the Garda Siochana Boxing Club of the Irish National Police Service on Friday, March 30, in the name of charity, according to Bobby McGuire, the president of the FDNY Bravest Boxing Team.

“Company pride is at stake,” he told amNewYork. “The New York City Fire Department considers itself the greatest in the world. We really believe that and it would be an insult if anyone came to New York and kicked our a--es.”

The charitable fight is held once a year in addition to about three other fights against other agencies. In 2017, the Bravest Boxing Team collected $40,000 for Building Homes for Heroes — an organization that builds or updates homes for veterans and their families.

This year, 10 FDNY members from across the city will take the ring at Terminal 5, including one woman — Hildy Santana from Engine 75 in the Bronx.

“She’s as tough as they come and she should have won a gold medal in the World Police and Fire Games,” McGuire said. “She fought against an L.A. firefighter.”

Last summer, the firewoman won the home fight in her weight division.

Andrew Tanzi, who represents Engine Company 33 in the Bowery, also took home a title last year. He’s returning this year at the top of his game. He trains every day, including with his peers twice a week at a boxing club on Trinity Street. It’s intense but he loves the challenge.

“You really can’t evade a workout — it’s discipline and a test of character,” he said. “Being one-on-one means that you can’t rely on a team, and to me, there’s no greater challenge.”

Their jobs require them to be in top physical condition as it is, but boxing “brings it to a whole other level,” McGuire said. “You’ve gotta be in there with someone whose trying to take your head off, but at the end of the day, everyone has to go to work on Monday.”

No single station house has taken home the most wins, but there’ve been many from Engine 33/Ladder 9 located on Great Jones Street. This is the same house that lost 10 of 14 firefighters who responded to the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11.

Those who fight are all in the same line of work, which automatically gives the boxers a mutual respect for each other, according to Tanzi.

“That and knowing that we’re raising money for our respective charities definitely lightens the situation, making it more fun,” he said. “We all know we’ll never be professional. The job comes first.”

Tickets are $30 for general admission and $50 for VIP ringside seats. For more information, visit

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