(Seguin) -- A Guadalupe County Sheriff's Deputy is celebrating a "W" after putting down his badge for a pair of boxing gloves. Deputy Jeffrey Stern came home a winner following this year's second annual Guns & Hoses event held at the San Antonio Events Center. Not only did he win his bout but Stern also walked away earning this year's award for "Fight of the Night."
The fundraiser was held Saturday night in front of a crowd of about 2,200 people -- all on hand to support police officers and fire fighters from across the state. Money raised that evening went directly to support the 100 Club of San Antonio which supports the families of fallen heroes.
Stern, who competed against Derek Kirchner, a reigning champion and Austin Fire Fighter, says entering the ring for charity was an incredible experience.
"There was 21 fights. Only 15 were law enforcement like police versus firefighters. There was other fights, but due to scheduling, some of them were fire on fire or police on police so it didn't count towards the actual competition. I competed against a firefighter from the Austin Fire Department. He competed last year and won. So it's kind of like redemption. I actually talked to the guy he fought last year and he was like 'he was good, he beat me by decision.' So this year, I got the W, but it was such a great experience. It's a good camaraderie that the fire -- we need them just as much as they need us out on the street. I go to a call where there's medical and I need their help and I'm like I just need to hurry up and make sure they get here so they can help us out and vise versa when it's a call where we need to take care of it and they stand by and wait for us. So this is helping build that bond," said Stern.
The win is even more exciting for Stern, who up until this weekend, had never competed in the sport.
"But, you don't just get to sign the sheet. You have to go and get registered through USA Boxing, go get a physical and then start training. Six months ago is when I signed up and then found one of the gyms that was helping train fighters. Alex Rios that's in San Antonio, near Sea World -- I started training over there and changed my diet and when I started training I was 199 pounds. On the day of the fight, I weighed in at 176. I had to change, the biggest thing was my diet. Coming here and stinking up the office, eating nothing but fish. So I trained five days a week, both at the boxing gym and I got a personal trainer. I really wanted to do good. I like martial arts and other combat sports and competed in other events, but other than sparring at local gyms, I've never competed in a contest like this," said Stern.
Stern says despite a few nerves at the beginning, he is grateful for the outcome.
"Just getting up there was where I was really nervous, but once you're in the ring and they sound the bell, I only had to worry about one thing and that was the person in front of me. So that was really fun and I squared and knocked down in the first round. We went all three rounds and he kept coming. He wouldn't stop, but at the end, I got the unanimous decision," said Stern.
The four year veteran of the sheriff's office says he is perhaps most excited about being honored with the Fight of the Night Award -- an award which reads "presented to the participant whose bout displayed the heart and Characteristic of a Champion."
"I didn't hear anybody talking about it (the Fight of the Night award) throughout the night of the competition. Like I said, I left after my fight was over. I was like, I'm good to go. Then I got a call, a missed call from my coach and I called him back. He said I just wanted to let you know brother, they voted you for Fight of the Night. So I was honored, because I didn't go in there expecting anything other than to compete. I was already happy that I won and even more happy that out of all the people who fought, they would pick our fight," said Stern.
Stern says his six months of training has not only led him to a win but it has also provided him a healthier lifestyle and a better mental focus for when he is on the job.
"My trainer, that's one of the things he was talking about -- he was like boxing is not just for in the ring. He was like 'it's a life style.' His mind set is a lot like police officers when we go to restaurants and we sit with our backs against the wall. I'm constantly looking everywhere. My wife's like 'hey, can you pay attention to me,' he's like I am, but he's also focused. His focus level is through the roof which helps us. We have to be able to react a lot faster than every day people. That's what he said, that's how you're going to benefit from boxing -- not just cause you can defend yourself, but because your ability to be aware, even when it looks like you're not paying attention. (My) meal plan, I got to cheat finally after two months -- really three weeks of hitting really hard on my diet, but for two months, I was toning back how I was eating and everything and that's how I dropped all the weight. Then, I finally had a couple of cheat days and I was like, 'it doesn't taste the same.' I went back to meal prepping, planning my meals and it inspired me to not only change my diet, but I want to compete again," said Stern.
Guadalupe County Sheriff Arnold Zwicke says he couldn't be more proud of Stern and his representation of the entire sheriff's office.
"I was proud of Jeff when he mentioned what he was going to be doing, not only representing Guadalupe County, but law enforcement across the nation -- firefighters and emergency services across the nation. I think that's a great thing, the brother hood that's there, the cause, the money that was raised, what it's all about. It's a great thing and for Jeff to come back with the honor that he did is even more awesome. We're proud of him every day, but more proud of him today for what he's done and accomplished and I'll start showing him a little more respect around here so he doesn't hurt me," said Zwicke.
Stern says he is already preparing to compete for next year's fundraising event. He says he also hopes to compete in other similar events in between.