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Bengal Bouts

President Evan Escobedo driving force in ring, club

| Friday, February 27, 2015

Fisher senior Evan Escobedo is a big guy with a big heart.

The Bengal Bouts president is not only one of the top fighters in the tournament but has also lived out the missions of Bengal Bouts and Holy Cross through his training, service work and leadership.

“This year what has been really awesome about the club dynamics from my perspective … is the quality of fights that we’ve had,” Escobedo said. “We’ve had a really dedicated, core group of guys. A lot of people echo this statement and it shows because even in the quarterfinals we had some high-level fights. Seeing this quality and this production we’ve put on, the very entertaining, very professional caliber of fights has been very rewarding.”

Senior Evan Escobedo, left, throws a punch during Tuesday’s semifinal bouts at Joyce Fieldhouse. Escobedo, the president of Bengal Bouts, lost by unanimous decision to Keough Hall freshman Pat Gordon in the 196-pound weight class. The Fisher Hall resident previously served as a Bengal Bouts captain before becoming president this year.MONICA VILLAGOMEZ MENDEZ | The Observer

Senior Evan Escobedo, left, throws a punch during Tuesday’s semifinal bouts at Joyce Fieldhouse. Escobedo, the president of Bengal Bouts, lost by unanimous decision to Keough Hall freshman Pat Gordon in the 196-pound weight class. The Fisher Hall resident previously served as a Bengal Bouts captain before becoming president this year.

Escobedo got his start with the Bouts in a rather unconventional manner. As a freshman, he walked onto the varsity baseball team but was eventually cut. Looking for a way to get involved athletically, Escobedo randomly decided to attend a practice for Bengal Bouts. One day, as the boxers were running sprints in the rain, Escobedo got hooked on the craziness.

“I was never a boxer. Before Notre Dame, I had never put on a pair of boxing gloves in my entire life,” Escobedo said. “The first time I got in the ring I was shaking because I was totally out of my comfort zone.”

Escobedo said he improved rapidly as a freshman and continued to develop as a sophomore. During his junior year, he was selected to be a captain before ultimately winning the presidency as a senior. The cohesive nature of the Bouts as well as the strong sense of tradition are the primary reasons for Escobedo’s devotion to the club, he said.

“[I am going to miss] being a part of something that is greater than any individual piece,” Escobedo said. “There’s so much going on with Bengal Bouts. You’ve got the training, but the training would be meaningless without this tournament. The tournament would be meaningless without this mission. All these things coming together: the guys, the boxing, the mission, the coaches and the captains, they become a really great piece that has been around for 85 years.”

Senior Evan Escobedo awaits the judges’ decision following his bout against freshman Pat Gordon on Tuesday at Joyce Fieldhouse.MONICA VILLAGOMEZ MENDEZ | The Observer

Senior Evan Escobedo awaits the judges’ decision following his
bout against freshman Pat Gordon on Tuesday at Joyce Fieldhouse.

It was not until Escobedo traveled to Bangladesh with three other boxers last summer for an ISSLP program to teach English that he felt truly immersed in the Bengal Bouts mission, he said.

“The mission is really special,” Escobedo said. “I had the opportunity to go to Bangladesh and spent the summer there. You end up doing so much more than teaching English. You’re bonding in a truly special level. All the boundaries that we have put up go away and we are all people united by the Bengal Bouts and Holy Cross tradition. Seeing this part of the club really makes it worthwhile.”

Bengal Bouts president Evan Escobedo, right, fights freshman Pat Gordon during the Bengal Bouts semifinals at Joyce Fieldhouse.MONICA VILLAGOMEZ MENDEZ | The Observer

Bengal Bouts president Evan Escobedo, right, fights freshman Pat Gordon during the Bengal Bouts semifinals at Joyce Fieldhouse.

As president of the club, Escobedo’s primary role is to facilitate the camaraderie among the boxers. Escobedo and the other captains incorporate the mission as much as possible into boxing, he said. The club hosts numerous fun events and fundraising efforts including Flannel Friday and Chipotle nights. By spearheading a majority of the training, fundraising and team bonding, Escobedo has helped the team become one of the most closely-knit groups on campus.

“I want to let people know that I was truly honored to serve as the president of the club this year,” Escobedo said. “This club has been the single most defining experience during my time at Notre Dame, and all the guys make this club what it is.”

Escobedo’s experience with the Bouts shows that the rewards of being a part of a team with a greater purpose other than competition easily trumps the physical demand and intensity of the boxing, he said. To the junior captains, underclassmen and students debating joining the Bouts, Escobedo sent out a final message of encouragement.

“This is one of those really special opportunities to attach yourself to the core,” Escobedo said. “Day in and day out, the work, the discipline, the focus scares a lot of people away from this club but when you can embrace that, the amount of development and growth that you will experience is just unbelievable. Embrace the challenge and you will only become stronger because of it.”

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