Schuck using boxing skills for charity

Photos by Candy Neal/The Herald
Dubois County Coroner Katie Schuck practices her boxing skills at MC Fitness & Submission Grappling in Loogootee on Tuesday evening. She was gearing up for her Saturday night Guns & Hoses boxing match in Evansville.

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Dubois County Coroner Katie Schuck floated like a butterfly across the floor of MC Fitness & Submission Grappling in Loogootee Tuesday evening, her boxing-glove-covered hands stinging the punching bag like a bee.

Like her inspiration, Muhammad Ali, she jabbed, ducked and dodged, practicing the moves she will use Saturday.

Schuck, 33, is boxing in the 13th annual Guns & Hoses charity boxing event in Evansville.

Her specialty is actually kickboxing. “I can’t live without it,” she said. “I live and breathe it. Anyone who knows me knows that’s my thing.”

But in this, Schuck can only us her hands. “I just hope I can carry it over,” she said. “I hope I win.”

Guns & Hoses is a charity boxing event in which police officers meet firefighters in the ring to spar. The event is hosted by 911 Gives Hope, which s a group of police officers, firefighters and paramedics whose goal is to improve the lives and people with disabilities, especially children. The proceeds from the event are given to various charities dedicated to children and people with disabilities.

Schuck is an Ireland native and Jasper High School graduate. She is in the first year of her four-year county coroner term, and was deputy coroner for the eight years prior. Schuck has been a licensed funeral director for more than 10 years and has worked at Becher-Kluesner Funeral Homes in Jasper for the last 14 years.

Schuck got interested in the sport at age 19, after visiting the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville and learning about the boxing champion.

“I really got interested in just him,” she said. “You sit down and watch a video of him fighting and going through his training camps, and all that. And that kind of hit home to me.”

Schuck started with martial arts at a school in Jasper and now has third-degree black belts in Taekwondo and American Kenpo. “We started to learn some kickboxing there, so that’s where I learned really to kick and punch,” she said. “And we got some, like contact sparring, where you wear gear.” She also went to a lot of karate tournaments.

After the Jasper school closed, she started doing more full-contact kickboxing at a center in Dale. “That’s where I kind of picked up that sort of fighting,” Schuck said. “But the traditional karate really carried over to that.”

She does weekly kickboxing training with two coaches: a pro kickboxer in Linton and a mitt trainer in Robinson, Illinois. And she goes to the Loogootee gym to practice with sparring partners and to participate in a women’s kickboxing cardio class, which she also helps teach.

“So when I’m not working, I’m training,” she said with a laugh. “That’s all I do.”

Since she has been training and working at this for the last 14 years, Schuck has lost 50 pounds and has become more athletic than she was before.

“Taekwondo really got me in shape,” she said. “And you’re kind of your own team. It was kind of me versus me type thing, because I just really wanted to get better. And I’ve learned that if you can fight at a lower weight class, you have a better opportunity to win.”

She has been in kickboxing matches, some in a boxing ring and some in a boxing cage, and has won several. But this will be Schuck’s first straight hands-only boxing match.

Schuck learned about the Guns & Hoses event from a local police officer. “I had an autopsy I was attending over in Huntingburg,” Schuck said. “One the Huntingburg policemen said, ‘Hey, you maybe ought to get in contact with somebody about doing that.’ And I’d never really thought about it.”

Schuck got the contact information from a woman she kickboxes with, who is also boxing in a match. She applied and was paired with Jamie Phillips of the Evansville Fire Department.

Her match is one of four female boxing matches at the event. “That’s most they’ve ever had,” Schuck said. “So that’s really cool.”

Her training workouts have been intense.

“I train all the time, but you ramped up the intensity the closer you get, usually six to 10 weeks out,” Schuck said. “So you run, you do sprints, stairs, these mid sessions. We do what’s called a Shark Tank or gauntlet, where you get with your sparring partners, and you go minute with a fresh person for like 20 rounds, and we get a minute break between rounds. So you get your cardio ramped up.”

Tuesday evening was her last day of hard training for the event. “And then you taper it off so that you’re fresh for Saturday,” she said.

Schuck’s biggest supporters have always been her parents, Jerry and Germaine (Scherle) Schuck, and they plan to be at Saturday’s match. “They understand how important this is to me,” she said.

She loves the camaraderie that has come from the sport.

“It’s really weird, but your best friends are those people that you spar with and punch in the face,” Schuck said. “It’s like a brotherhood and sisterhood. We’re one big family. You’re right there and you’re sweating it out together, sometimes bleeding together, doing it all. You just get really close with all those people.”

The 13th annual Guns & Hoses will be held at 7 p.m. CT Saturday at the Ford Center in Evansville. For information, visit 911giveshope.com.




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