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Area law enforcement officers pack a punch for good cause

AurorPolice Chief Greg Thomas will square off against ElgPolice Chief Jeff SwobodTuitiKnock Out Top Cop charity boxing match Sunday night

Aurora Police Chief Greg Thomas will square off against Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda at the Tuition Knock Out Top Cop charity boxing match Sunday night in Aurora. | Courtesy of Edward Corral Photography

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Tuition knock out

Sunday’s boxing matches raise money for the National Latino Peace Officers Association Aurora Chapter Scholarship Fund.

Amateur fights start at 2:30 p.m.; Top Cop exhibition matches at 5 p.m. Sunday at La Sierra De Aurora, 2121 E. New York St., Aurora.

Tickets for adults are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Tickets for children 10 and under are $5. VIP ringside tickets are $50.

Tickets can be purchased online at Tickets can be purchased in person at the Aurora Policeman Credit Union, 1200 E. Indian Trail, and other law enforcement headquarters in Oswego and Elgin.

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Updated: November 26, 2013 6:29AM

AURORA — They’re usually working side-by-side fighting crime, but on Sunday, the cross county rivals will be squaring off against each other in the ring.

For the first year, police chiefs, sheriffs and attorneys will break out boxing gloves for a good cause in a series of exhibition matches Sunday. The special matches are part of the second annual Tuition Knock Out fundraiser, which aims to raise money for the National Latino Peace Officers Assocation Aurora Chapter Scholarship Fund.

Stepping into the ring Sunday will be Aurora Police Chief Greg Thomas in a match against Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda; Aurora Police Investigations Cmdr. Kristen Ziman and Elgin Investigations Cmdr. Ana Lalley; Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez squaring off against Oswego Police Chief and Kendall County Sheriff candidate Dwight Baird; Aurora Police Officer Pete Rodriguez and Kane County Security Officer Stephan Scott; and defense attorney and Aurora Alderman Richard Irvin against Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Alex Bederka.

Exhibition matches start at 5 p.m. Sunday at LaSierra De Aurora, 2121 E. New York St. in Aurora. The exhibition matches culminate an afternoon of boxing that begins at 2:30 p.m. with a card of 15 amateur bouts featuring boxers of all ages. The amateur matches are sanctioned by the USA Boxing Association and Jesse “The Law” Torres Boxing Club, which is run by retired Aurora Police Officer Jesse Torres, a former professional boxer.

Aurora Police Sgt. Alfredo Dean, organizer of the event, said he’s expecting a crowd of more than 1,000 Sunday.

Chief vs. Chief

Dean had a unique strategy to coax Aurora Chief Thomas to agree to the match against Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda, Thomas said. The Chief vs. Chief showdown is slated to be the Top Cop main event.

“The way it was presented to me was that Jeff already said yes,” Thomas said. “Little did I know, they used the same tactic on him.”

Swoboda, 44, said he’s “watched a little boxing, flipping through the TV channels,” but the Elgin chief hasn’t changed his lifestyle. Thomas, 53, said his black belt in Tae Kwon Do may give him an edge Sunday.

Swoboda said putting his mug on the line is certainly riskier than the traditional charity golf outing, but he’s happy to do it for a great cause.

“My secret weapon? Hopefully my ability to withstand pain,” he said.

Both men predict they’ll take the prize.

Commanding contest

Two female police commanders, Elgin’s Lalley and Aurora’s Ziman, are slated to square off in a Sunday match, too.

The 40-year-old Ziman, a petite 5-foot 4 inches, said the bout is turning out to be much more serious that the “choreographed, oversized boxing gloves routine” she had in mind.

The 39-year-old Lalley, standing at 5-foot 7 inches, is betting on herself to take Sunday’s fight. Ziman’s betting on Lalley, too.

“I would definitely bet against me. I’m thinking plastic surgery may be in my future,” Ziman said.

Sheriff in action

Kane County Sheriff Perez will take on Oswego Police Chief Baird, a candidate for Kendall County sheriff.

Perez, 56, who’ll be known as “El Jefe” Sunday night, has had black belt status since 1987. Baird, a 45-year-old runner, said he’s in great cardiovascular shape. After all, he passes the police department agility test twice a year, he said.

Who will come out on top Sunday night?

“I’m going to be TCB,” Baird said. “Taking care of business.”

“I’m not a person who counts my chickens before they hatch and I’m not a person that talks trash,” Perez said. “I’ll let me work in the ring do the talking.”

Trial bout

Aurora Alderman At-large Irvin, a defense attorney, is slated to take on Bederka, a Kane County assistant state’s attorney.

In the weeks leading up to the match, Irvin has referred to himself in City Council chambers as “Sugar Rich.”

The National Latino Peace Officers Association is the largest Latino law enforcement organization in the United States. The NLPOA Aurora chapter is the first local chapter in Illinois. The group’s core goals are to recruit Latinos into law enforcement and to educate the Latino community that law enforcement can be trusted and is a vital resource on which they can depend.

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