PRINCETON — The closest Nefty Padilla had come to boxing before last Saturday night was high school wrestling.
The Princeton Police Officer represented Gibson County and the PPD in twelfth annual Guns & Hoses charity boxing match in Evansville where he faced Kwinn Davis with Hanson, Kentucky Fire and Rescue.
The fight ultimately went to Davis after three rounds, but the people in the gun's corner commented how ready for another round Padilla looked.
That could be because of the similarities in cardio with wrestling and boxing that Padilla found while training. He said three one-minute rounds may not seem like a lot, but the fighter is going full force the whole time.
"I've seen it in the past, a lot of guys if they're not in good shape, that last round they're completely worn out," Padilla said. "That's why I wanted to train early is to make sure I had enough cardio."
Padilla started training in May of 2018. He was eating right, training, losing weight and making connections with other first responders in the process.
"When I decided to do it, I wanted to make sure that I didn't wait until the last minute to train," he said.
It's actually been around eight years that Padilla has hoped to get in the ring, but he wasn't sure how to get involved and a shoulder injury kept him on the sidelines.He spent the last few years watching fellow PPD officer Matt Perry participate and it reignited his desire to have his name on the card.
Perry was able to help get him connected with the organization and Padilla doesn't anticipate this being his only year to participate.
"Matt Perry wants to do it again next year and he's pushing me to do it with him," Padilla said. "Right now my plans are to do it again next year."
Padilla is also hoping the fans who came to support him this year won't stay home for next year's fight either. His supporters were easy to spot, most wearing t-shirts sported his name and badge number on the back.
He put those shirts up on Facebook for sale and ended up selling at least 100. Padilla said he was shocked by the support from Princeton and Gibson County as a whole.
"I'm very thankful for everything they have done," he said.