Leeds firefighters heading to New York City to take on FDNY in charity boxing matches

Three Leeds firefighters are preparing to travel to New York City to take on Fire Department New York members at an annual charity boxing event.

By Tom Coates
Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 11:45 am

They will be heading over as part of a team containing three other West Yorkshire firefighters, and the team is the only one in the United Kingdom that has received an invite.

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Named 'Thrilla in Camilla', the event raises money for the Tunnels to Towers Foundation and this year will feature Richard Fella and James Scott of Rawdon Fire Station and Hassan Abrar of Leeds Fire Station on the bill.

The boxers fly out on July 6.

The charity was established to honour the memory of Stephen Siller, a firefighter who died after running to assist at the World Trade Centre when the events of 9/11 were unfolding.

It helps US veterans, first responders and their families and is now receiving backing from across the pond in West Yorkshire.

Rawdon Fire Station's crew commander Richard Fella said: "It's all about the cause. Boxing is a good source of entertainment and people love it as a sport.

"It's a great spectator sport and it's good when you put a bit of a friendly rivalry spin on it with the UK fire service and the US fire service kind of coming together."

Richard put on a boxing showcase at the First Direct Arena in 2019.

The team of West Yorkshire firefighters will be taking on members of the FDNY under USA Boxing rules on Rockaway Beach in Queens on the evening of July 8.

The event will also be live streamed to enable supporters back home in West Yorkshire to cheer the boxers on from afar.

The West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service caught the eye of the FDNY when Richard put on a charity boxing event at the First Direct Area in 2019.

Everyone that fought on the card was a serving firefighter and the bouts took place in front of a crowd containing around 2,000 people, raising £25,000 for The Fire Fighters Charity.

Richard said: "Off the back of the social media on that, the FDNY saw it and got in touch.

"They asked if we wanted to come over and do a show with them and help them with their fundraising."

The six-strong team will fly out on July 6 and have paid for their own flights.

When they arrive in the United States, they will be staying in accommodation provided by the FDNY.

Richard said: "We're feeling good, everybody's been training for the last couple of months leading up to it.

"Obviously, a trip like this takes some planning with the logistics of it all and we've had a bit of a bumpy ride. We had all our flights cancelled by Virgin so we had to rebook all our flights,

"But here in the background, everybody's been training and in terms of the boxing side of things, everybody's really excited about it."