When not out saving lives, Shay Burke enjoys time in the boxing ring

To say that Burke enjoys physical activities is a big understatement.

In addition to boxing, the 30-year-old snowboards, rides motorcycles, rides mountain bicycles and enjoys "pretty much any thing that is outdoors."

Boxing is, of course, primarily indoors, but it brings the same sort of physical challenge as his other activities, and he is good at it. Good enough to be ranked No. 1 nationally in competition among police officers and firefighters.

He recently won the United States middleweight (165 pounds) championship in a big Badges vs. Badges competition in Sacramento.

His opponent in the championship match was Ricky Stuart, a firefighter from Big Bear City, who trained with Sugar Shane Mosely for three weeks prior to the fight. In his previous tournament, Stuart KO'd all three of his opponents.

Burke unanimously won all three rounds.

Burke was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, but grew up in Petaluma, graduating from Petaluma High School, where he wrestled and played football.

He has been boxing since he was 14, initially training at the American Made Boxing Club in Santa Rosa. He boxed in the Junior Olympics and won the Northern California Diamond Belt.

After Petaluma High, he made a decision that would shape his life — he began training to be a firefighter/paramedic at Santa Rosa Junior College. After completing his training, he ultimately landed a job with the Petaluma Fire Department doing what he truly loves to do — helping others.

A great job for him got even better when he discovered he could continue boxing in the police and firefighters' competitions.

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