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Sully’ brings pain in the ring and during practice

Andy Ziccarelli | Friday, March 14, 2008

All Bengal Bouts fighters are used to the everyday routine of endless calisthenics. Each day brings hundreds more push-ups, sit-ups and arm circles for the boxers to endure. Fighters slowly begin to adapt and the workouts became less and less tedious.

When Lawrence Sullivan was in charge of calisthenics, however, each fighter knew that he was going to go home sore, no matter what.

“Sully was one of the toughest captains when it came to practice, no doubt,” said freshman Michael Wu, who started boxing this year. “He always had some new and crazy ab exercise for us to do, or something like that.”

Sullivan, who captured the 145-pound title last year, is notorious for his tough workouts and occasional oddball exercises. Some, like one-legged squats, seemed like only he could perform successfully. Sullivan is a dedicated worker and a fighter, and he has fun taking on his friends in the ring, one of Bengal Bouts’ most rewarding aspects, he said.

But as much as Sullivan enjoys those moments of in-ring victory, his experiences watching his peers succeed are just as fulfilling.

“Seeing them win, it is so cool,” Sullivan said of his boxing friends. He mentioned how great it felt to see one of his buddies finally break through and win his match.

Because of his work ethic and boxing talent, Sullivan was a natural fit to become one of the senior captains. Though a captain’s responsibilities at times detract from his individual training, Sullivan embraced his duties in running practices and serving as a mentor for some of the younger boxers.

“Just getting more involved in the program, everything about it [is enjoyable],” he said. “From sending out letters asking for funds to coaching kids, it’s a great program and the deeper you get into it, the better it gets.”

Sullivan saw his last Bengal Bouts fight on Friday as a good time to look back on not only his boxing experience, but also the Notre Dame experience as a whole.

“Just the caliber of good people [is what I’ll miss the most],” Sullivan said. “You just walk around and you run into people that you go to class with, people that you box with, people you have extracurricular activities with and they are just good, solid, intelligent people.”

Sullivan is a senior from Granger, Ind., who will graduate this spring with a degree in Arabic and Political Science. He is a part of the Marine Corps ROTC, meaning he will enter the Marines for at least four years after graduation. His immediate plans include training in Quantico, Va.

Sullivan can put the future on hold for now, however, as he prepares for his fight against former 140-pound champion Kris Perez – a fight that was made possible by a little advance planning.

“We tried to set it up, to get to the same weight,” Sullivan explained. “We are both really competitive guys. We’ve both had a ton of success in this program and both of us are so excited.

“Don’t blink – there are going to be fireworks.”