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BENGAL BOUTS: Broken hand derails Alanis’ dream of Bouts championship

Chris Khorey | Friday, March 18, 2005

All the hard work was finally paying off for Justin Alanis.

After a summer spent working out six days a week and a spring break spent sparring against a professional middleweight, the senior Bengal Bout fighter had earned the top seed in the 170 lb. weight class.

He sat through the preliminaries with a bye and cruised past Tom Digan in the quarterfinals.

In the semifinals Alanis had his opponent Brad Wanchulak back on his heels.

Alanis took the offensive and caught Wanchulak upside the head.

Then everything changed.

Alanis felt a sharp pain in his right hand, but ignored it as the bout continued.

“It hurt really bad but I kept going cause I thought I had sprained it or something, plus the adrenaline was so much that I just had to keep going,” he said.

After a unanimous decision victory, Alanis had time to consider the pain in his hand.

“I got through the third round and won unanimously but when I went back to the doctors I tried to take my glove off and my hand was just killing me,” he said. “When I finally got my wrap off there was this huge bump on my hand where the bone was almost sticking out.”

It was then that Alanis realized the stunning truth. His right hand was broken just below the pinky and he would have to forfeit the final. The dream he had worked for a full year was shattered and, as a senior, he wasn’t going to get another shot.

He was inconsolable.

“When I found out I couldn’t fight, I was really upset. I didn’t sleep that night,” he said.

Alanis developed an interest in boxing when his roommate competed in Bengal Bouts during his sophomore year. Alanis fought for the first time his junior year.

“When junior year came around I decided to do it,” he said. “I went to all the training before Christmas where the rookies basically go.

“I won my first two bouts, but got beat in the semifinals.”

The loss in the semis instilled a fire in Alanis.

“Ever since I lost, I wanted to taste victory,” he said. “The next day after my loss I was back in the gym. I worked out six days a week, boxing for two hours and working out for two hours.”

After his grueling summer, Alanis continued working out at Notre Dame. Over spring break, his training took on a professional feel when he sparred with undefeated middleweight Sechew Powell.

“I pretty much walked into his training facility and asked him if he wanted to spar and he looked at me like ‘you want to spar?'” Alanis said. “He beat the crap out of me a couple times, but I learned his techniques.”

Alanis plans to continue boxing recreationally when his hand heals, but isn’t sure he’ll fight again competitively. He has two years of Bengal Bouts eligibility remaining, but he can only use them if he attends Notre Dame for graduate school, which he says he doubts will happen.

Dan Ward will be declared the 170 lb. champion by forfeit at Saturday’s Bengal Bout finals in the Joyce Center.