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Bengal Bouts: Breslin philosophical about competition

Kate Gales | Friday, March 3, 2006

He’s a resident assistant, an engineer and a golfer. But a street fighter?

Not really.

“I’ve never been in a fight,” senior Bengal Bouts co-captain Andrew Breslin admitted.

But that doesn’t count his three years of boxing experience at Notre Dame, of course. Breslin, a senior from Alumni Hall and native of Sugarload, Penn., started boxing after being inspired by a friend during his first year at Notre Dame.

“Freshman year, one of my good friends was involved and he went to the finals,” Breslin said. “He beat a bunch of the captains along the way – kind of an underdog story. He ended up losing in the finals, but that in itself is why I started boxing.”

Breslin, who played soccer and tennis, ran cross-country, and now skis, said he had never boxed before coming to campus.

Four years later, he finds younger boxers looking to him for guidance.

“For the most part, the most rewarding part is kids, when they want to learn and you can see it in their eyes that they want to be better, they just constantly are asking you questions,” Breslin said. “That’s really where being a captain comes in. The kids who want to make that leap from being a novice boxer to a good boxer, we’re their outlet for that, and that’s the role I see myself playing this year.”

There is more to captaining than training, though.

“Being a captain is the most rewarding thing in Bengal Bouts because we run practice, we run the ad sales, we run pretty much everything,” he said.

Breslin said the competition of boxing is unlike anything else.

“The pit of your stomach drops out and you don’t really know what you’re doing and all of a sudden a bell rings,” he said. “And once the bell rings, it’s like, it’s that self-actualization, self-realization.”

Breslin said that the individual nature of boxing is one of the most demanding parts of it.

“A lot of people have written about the mirror work we do and also about the lines between the lights and the dark,” he said. “When you’re in the ring, it’s you and the lights. You never really see who’s in front of you, the referee is just some voice you don’t even pay attention to. It’s just you, and it’s that time where it’s just you and what you can do.”

Breslin lost in the preliminary rounds as a sophomore in his first year of competition.

“Last year, I lost very, very close split decision in the semis,” he said. His opponent eventually won the championship by default.

“Based on my performance last year is why I became a captain this year. … Anything short of winning this year wouldn’t be a disappointment, but I have the skills and the ability to win this year, whoever I’m facing in my bracket.”

Breslin, a mechanical engineering major, will be working in Cincinnati for General Electric next fall. He has accepted a position in the company’s Aviation Edison engineering development program.

“It’s a complete reflection of self, and that reflection of self allows you to carry it on through everything else you do in your life,” Breslin said.

His passion for Bengal Bouts is for the boxing and also the mission.

“Initially, the attraction to boxing was the boxing,” he said. “The mission was just kind of like icing on the cake. … Once I got the full story I was hooked – it was boxing [and] raising money.”