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Senator DeFrancisco and Ray Rinaldi Face Off for Charity

Senator John DeFrancisco with his fists up
John Smith
WAER Sports

It’s not often you hear of a State Senator Stepping into a boxing ring to duke it out with a boxing legend. Nonetheless, that’s precisely what one elected official from Syracuse is doing this weekend.
While State Senator John DeFrancisco and his boxing opponent Ray Rinaldi were joking about their upcoming fight, they’re not joking when it comes to helping out  at-risk youth.  The dinner, being dubbed “Fight for a Future,” will be the first fundraising event of the newly-formed Ray Rinaldi Foundation.  

The foundation is designed to help raise awareness of problems plaguing Syracuse’s inner city, while working directly with politicians, other foundations, corporations, and the Syracuse Police Benevolent Association to help eradicate them. The boxing match Saturday will help fund Rinaldi’s program that teaches troubled kids to box.  
Senator DeFrancisco says it’s important to show community support for people doing good things:
"This actually works, these are volunteers that help kids not only get off the streets but have someplace to go to direct their energies, and there's also an academic component."

man speaks into a microphone, with laminated photos of boxing matches behind him
Credit John Smith / WAER Sports
WAER Sports
Ray Rinaldi speaks to reports at a press conference for his upcoming fundraiser "Fight for a Future"

But why get at-risk kids to box?  Wouldn’t that just make them more prone to fighting? Rinaldi shoots down that notion from his experience:
"When these kids learn how to box, very seldom they get into fights in schools or at home. It's out of them - the anger's on the bag, the anger's in here. It's all gone."
Ray Rinaldi's foundation is putting on the match.

  • G.E.D. program
  • Boxing Program for 8-18, adult.
  • Computer Basics and Navigation
  • Art
  • Tutoring
  • Community Service

 Rinaldi says that the true champions are the kids that are able to get away from a gang or a bad situation and into a normal job.

Every one's a leader. You've gotta remember where they come from. We get kids from the court system, we get kids from problems at schools, family. When you say leader, to me, that means we get that kid away from what he was in and to believing in himself.

The boxing match between Rinaldi and DeFrancisco will be at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Liverpool on Saturday evening at 6:00 pm. Corporate dinner tables seating eight are available for $1100 for VIP seating, $800 for ringside tables, and individual dinner tickets can be purchased to the event for $75. 

Hannah vividly remembers pulling up in the driveway with her mom as a child and sitting in the car as it idled with the radio on, listening to Ira Glass finish his thought on This American Life. When he reached a transition, it was a wild race out of the car and into the house to flip on the story again and keep listening. Hannah’s love of radio reporting has stuck with her ever since.