Through the cacophony of cheers and punches Saturday night, Mount Carmel Fight Night's Mike Davis expects to hear a familiar voice — that of Mike Fitzgerald.
Known as "Mr. Fight Night," Fitzgerald trained boxers for the school's "Fight Night" since 1978. The event is a fundraiser run by the Mount Carmel Fathers' Club. Fitzgerald died in February.
"It won't be the same without Fitz, but somehow we know he will be there," said Davis, who is training the boxers for the big event. "Fitz was 'Mr. Fight Night" and to call him anything but that would not be right.
"He trained and taught you a lot, including me. It is immeasurable what he did for Mount Carmel and the kids in Fight Night. He loved Mount Carmel and we love Fitz."
Davis is a 1993 graduate of the South Side Catholic school.
The theme for the event is a "Salute to Service." Mount Carmel will honor military alumni at the event. Fitzgerald — who attended Mount Carmel, graduated from Hirsch but was eventually made an honorary alumnus of Mount Carmel — will also be honored at the event. Fitzgerald was a commander of the Chicago Ridge American Legion Post.
"He had a passion for it and he passed that off to us," sophomore Connor Gill said. "I want to go out and we all want to do good in his memory. Mr. Fitzgerald put a lot of time in working with us and making sure we knew and appreciated boxing."
Gill's dad, Tom is a 1991 grad and was the reason Conor is in the event.
"My dad didn't box four years, but he really encouraged me to get involved," Conor Gill said. "He wants me to be in it for four years"
Mount Carmel Fathers' Club president Jim Deering said he will be missed, but remembered.
"This was his passion," Deering said. "Fitz loved the kids and he loved to come here at lunch hour and have the kids box."