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High school students go toe-to-toe...all for a good cause

February 27, 2019 06:59 PM

(WHEC) -- On Friday, hundreds of people will watch high school students punch each other, and it's all for a good cause.  

The 87th Annual Mission Bouts will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at Aquinas.

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It's a boxing fundraiser to raise money for charity efforts. But as we found out, it does far more than raise money.

During an afternoon sparring session at Aquinas, seniors Francis Tavino and Samuel Leonardo are hard at work preparing for Friday's Mission Bouts.  

But one doesn't get punched in the face a few times without learning some lessons.

"It's taught me a lot about life, especially that if I want something in life it doesn't come easy, I have to work for it," says Leonardo.

That hard work extends far beyond the three rounds during this practice session. The lessons from a jab, a hook, or cross continue outside the ropes.

"It means a lot to me, it's taught me a work ethic that carries through sports and the classroom," says Tavino, "It's helped build that inner drive to keep pushing when nobody's watching."

And boxing is not just for the boys, the Mission Bouts allow girls at the school to compete.

"We do something that you don't get from other schools," says Aquinas senior Sarah Grout, "It's something very special that we have and you don't find it anywhere else."

Despite literally going toe-to-toe swinging punches, the kids say it's a fun time for charity.

"It's a fun time going in the ring with one of your best friends, throwing punches at each other," says Leonardo, "I was fighting Alex Bowman and we were laughing, definitely a fun time for sure."

This year is the 25th anniversary of Muhammad Ali attending the Mission Bouts and if you go on Friday, you can see the mold made of the former champion's hands.

Advance tickets are $15 ringside, $10 general admission, and $5 for students.

To purchase advance tickets, please contact the Aquinas Athletic Office at (585) 254-2020, Ext. 1043.

Tickets sold at the door will be $17 ringside, $12 general admission, and $7 for students.

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