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Bengal Bouts

Seim seeks first title on third try after year off

| Thursday, February 27, 2014

With three years of boxing experience under his belt and a background in ROTC, graduate student Niels Seim leads the 140-lbs. weight division. The New York native has made two appearances in title bouts, but has yet to come away with a championship.

In his last year in the boxing club, Seim will attempt to capture the elusive final-match victory.

Senior captain Niels Seim, left, punches his way past the defense of freshman Patrick Brennan, in the semifinal round.Mike Monaco | The Observer

Senior captain Niels Seim, left, punches his way past the defense of freshman Patrick Brennan, in the semifinal round.

The aerospace engineering major began his tenure with Bengal Bouts as a sophomore transfer from Villanova. Even though boxing was never something he was involved with, Seim knew a little thing or two about contact sports. When he came to Notre Dame, the high-school wrestler started the wrestling club. Seim said both boxing and wrestling require the same type of attitude but have different demands in the ring.

“When I’ve been boxing for a couple of years and went back to wrestling, I thought that boxing would help out with the fitness, but I died in my first wrestling match,” he said. “And when I tried to go back to boxing with wrestling’s conditioning, I didn’t do so well either. Both are different, but they both have the same high level of intensity.”

With his wrestling experience, Seim was able to reach the finals in his first year participating in Bengal Bouts as a sophomore. Seim said his family has been supportive of his boxing career, although they originally were not even aware it had begun.

“I actually never told my dad that I was fighting when I first got into Bengal Bouts, and it’s funny because, as I walked from Carroll to the JACC, I busy thinking about how I was going to fight in my first match when I got a phone call, which happened to be from my dad.” Seim said. “He asked me why I didn’t tell him that I was fighting, and, in the end, he told me to do my best and win the match.

“During the finals, my parents threw a party with 20 or 30 people [back home] watching the fight on a big projector, and it meant a lot to me as well as to my parents.”

While Seim’s goal this year is to win a leather jacket with the word “champion” on the front, he also said his favorite part of Bengal Bouts up to this point has been helping the novices train for their own fights.

“While most of the vets aren’t required to come [to practices year-round], I’ve always been there,” Seim said.

He was there even when he wasn’t able to participate in Bengal Bouts last year due to other commitments with the Air Force ROTC, he has been involved every other year he’s been on campus.

“The best part of boxing is helping the younger guys learn how to box.” Seim says. “The young guys just want to go out there and throw punches and hit things, but we take baby steps with them and teach them the stance, the jab, the power shots, and that part of Bengal Bouts has always had a special place with me.”

Seim also stressed the importance of the team dimension of Bengal Bouts and the cause underlying the fights.

“We really do this for the Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh, as a team.” Seim said. “When we’re doing 1,000 push-ups all together, we bond together as a team even with the guys we don’t really know.

“Doing this for a greater cause is what is always on everyone’s mind.”

With more than 200 fighters preparing together for arguably one of the biggest events in their lives, Seim said everyone pushes through the tough times and mental and physical struggles to accomplish his ultimate mission.

“We want our hard work inside of the ring to impact what goes on outside of the ring.” Seim said.

As Seim approaches his third consecutive finals match, he is chasing a championship while keeping in mind the motto of Bengal Bouts: Strong bodies fight, that weak bodies may be nourished. The captain said he prefers an alternative motto, one that rings true even after the final bell rings: Strong bodies fight to bring light into darkness.

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About Manuel De Jesus

Manuel De Jesus is a junior from Chicago, Illinois. He is an American Studies major with a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. He is currently covering ND Volleyball, Men's Soccer and Men's Basketball.

Contact Manuel