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Waking the Echoes: Alberdi stays with boxing program as coach

| Thursday, February 27, 2014

This time last year, Ryan Alberdi was tearing through the 185-pound weight class on his way to a second Bengal Bouts championship, sporting a mustache that would make Tom Selleck and Ron Swanson proud and was hoping to attend Northwestern for graduate school.

Oh, how times change.

Now Alberdi says he’s lucky to get to practice three times a week to coach. The mustache is gone, replaced by a well-manicured beard. And Alberdi still finds himself in the friendly confines of South Bend, Ind., in the first year of a five-year structural engineering PhD program.

Former Irish boxer and captain Ryan Alberdi, left, lands a left hook in last year’s 185-pound final. Alberdi now coaches young boxers.Observer File Photo
Former Irish boxer and captain Ryan Alberdi, left, lands a left hook in last year’s 185-pound final. Alberdi now coaches young boxers.
“At first I was unsure about coming here for grad school, but I had done some research with a professor here the last couple years,” Alberdi said. “I got accepted to the program and I had enjoyed the research and decided that I wanted to stay around.”

Once he decided to return to Notre Dame, it was a no-brainer for Alberdi to continue staying involved with Bengal Bouts. The added workload that comes with his PhD program has had its consequences, though.

“I’m a little busy, to say the least,” Alberdi said. “I still try to get to practice to coach a few times a week, and I’ve made time to get to the tournament to corner and judge. I’ve just been trying to stay as involved as I can whenever I have free time, because I can’t get in there every day.”

One of the biggest adjustments from last year to this year for Alberdi was going from a captain, leading workouts every day and seeing each fighter progress from the inside, to a part-time coach.

“You really miss being with the guys and training with them,” Alberdi said. “That camaraderie is something you don’t get when you’re only coming in a few times a week.”

In addition to not being “one of the guys” to the extent he was in his four years boxing, Alberdi said he has yet to find something that completely replaces the Bengal Bouts experience on an individual level.

“There is nothing like the couple weeks leading up to the fight where you’re training every day,” Alberdi said. “There’s something about that feeling, when you’re getting prepared. It’s hard watching the fights and not want to go down there and jump in.”

Unsurprisingly for someone who dedicated as much time and effort to Bengal Bouts during his time as an undergraduate, Alberdi has a plethora of memories that he cherishes, especially now that he’s one year removed from the ring.

“There’s a lot of memories, but last year’s finals night is probably my favorite,” he said. “All the captains made it to the finals, and everyone fought really well. It was just an awesome night, and a great way to go out.”

Luckily for Alberdi, who seems to love Bengal Bouts more so than anyone this side of Knute Rockne, as his studies progress, the workload gets lighter, which he said should allow him to be more involved in the next few years.

“We’ll see, but hopefully I can start getting back into it more moving forward and continue to coach,” he said. “It’s a great club to be a part of, and something I still enjoy being a part of even though I’m not fighting anymore.”

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