The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Oloriz ends Bengal Bouts ascent as president

Casey Karnes | Thursday, February 28, 2013

Looking out over Purcell Pavilion, senior captain Alex Oloriz reminisced on his past fights there, and looked forward to returning one last time.

“It takes six full months. If you stick it out, you can make it here,” Oloriz said. “There’s nothing like it. Every time the crowd roars you get an extra burst.”

Oloriz, who compares his fighting style to the Rolling Stones song “Sympathy for the Devil,” is no stranger to center stage at Purcell, having made it to the finals all three years he has been involved with Bengal Bouts. He entered the program as a freshman with no previous boxing experience, but quickly made an impact. His rapid ascent surprised no one more than himself.

“When I first sparred, I sparred a senior, and he wrecked my nose. I didn’t have any expectations going in, I was just going to go out and do my best.” Oloriz said. “I won my first fight, and it was hard. And the next one, I won, and it was hard, but I still kept going. And finally, I was like, ‘Oh man, I won three fights, I’m in the finals!’ It just happened, I don’t know. I just worked hard.”

Oloriz was defeated by then senior captain John Maier his freshman year, and again by senior Matt Enzweiller in his sophomore year. Last year however, his first year as a junior captain, Oloriz was finally able to pull out a victory by defeating Inoh Choe. While Oloriz savored his victory, his hunger for another title remains voracious.

“The training doesn’t change. You still have to push yourself harder, think that there may be someone working as hard as you, or harder,” said Oloriz. “When you’re [with the club], I think [the workouts] are easy, because there’s 200 guys going through the same thing as you.”

Thanks to his stellar performance the last three years, and his overall contributions to the club, Oloriz has been promoted to president. 

“There’s a lot more responsibility, in terms of running the club and also training. So balancing that has been tough,” Oloriz said. “After doing [boxing] for four years, you know the technique … having to teach that to new boxers … it can be frustrating. You have to explain it 50 different ways, but when you see a guy finally doing something right, and using his technique, and listening, you feel really good. It’s rewarding, but it tests your patience sometimes.”

Despite his emphasis on training, Olorioz never forgets that Bengal Bouts are about more than just the fights. While he has never been able to go to Bangladesh, he cited the children the Bouts benefit as a major inspiration. 

“It’s not all about winning,” said Oloriz. “It’s about the guys who don’t win, but still go out and raise money. It validates what you do in there, missing time in school. I think that’s something that has equal value as education, giving back. At the end of the fight, when you hear that bell ring, you know you’ve done something good.”

As the end of his senior year approaches, Oloriz faces the end of his involvement with Bengal Bouts as well. But the lessons he learned through fighting and training will always stick with him, he said. 

“There’s a ton of lessons from boxing. I’ve grown a lot these last fours years.” Oloriz said. “I’ve learned to stick to my guns, to be confident in what I do, while also pushing my limits. You can always push yourself harder, that’s the lesson boxing has taught me. No complacency.”

And while the end may feel bittersweet, Oloriz is looking forward to walking out of the ring a champion one last time.

“There’s no feeling in the world better than walking out of the ring with your hand held high, especially when you turn and see the friends who have come out to support you going wild,” Oloriz said.

Contact Casey Karnes at wkarnes@nd.edu