Southern California law enforcement agencies went head-to-head in the “Battle in the Desert” boxing tournament in Coachella Valley on October 1.
The main event featured a bout between Beaumont police officer Jessica Segovia and Palm Springs police dispatcher Samantha De La Cruz, which was a rematch from last year’s event. De La Cruz avenged her loss.
Other matches before the main event showcased combatants from Cathedral City Police Department, Indio Police Department, Palm Springs Police Department, U.S. Border Patrol and the LAPD.
Two officers from the El Monte Police Department also participated in the event, and said prior to the tournament that they had planned to pay tribute to fallen officers Joseph Santana and Michael Paredes, who were killed in the line of duty in June.
Jesus Gonzales, creator of the event, said that they honor fallen officers before every event, paying “tribute to them at the beginning of the show like we always do to our fallen officers. We have two from Cathedral City and Palm Springs and a few others who have passed. We always pay tribute with a 10 count with a bell,” Gonzales said prior to the event.
Gonzales also said that a portion of the proceeds will go toward the Adrian Cordova Foundation to honor Calexico Police Officer Adrian Cordova, who died in 2007, as well as the Diaz Brothers Training Camp in Indio, which supports youth boxing programs.
Battle in the Desert held its first event in 2016 and has since become an annual tradition. Other local businesses participate in the event to offer music and merchandise as well.
“It brings the whole community out together,” Gonzalez said. “Everybody interacts with each other and gets to talk to each other, so it’s pretty exciting.”