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Trip to Bangladesh inspired Blood’s path

| Friday, March 3, 2017

For senior captain Chip Blood, Bengal Bouts has been more than just a boxing tournament.

Blood, a Sorin senior from Jackson, Michigan, joined the Notre Dame boxing club his freshman year, after overhearing his RA, Daniel Yi, who was the president of the club at the time, talk about the group.

“I just joined because I wanted to stay in competitive sports,” Blood said. “ … I didn’t know about the mission behind our club or anything like that, I just thought it would be a good way to stay competitive and maybe make some friends.”

20170221, 20170221, Bengal Bouts, JACC, Katelyn Valley, QuarterfinalsKatelyn Valley | The Observer
Senior Chip Blood, right, eyes his quarterfinal opponent and fends off a jab Tuesday night at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse. Blood defeated freshman Parker Revers in a referee-stopped contest.

However, Blood’s humility about his beginnings in the club has translated into success in the ring. Having participated in the bouts for four consecutive years, Blood has made it to the semifinals three times. He has earned a spot in this year’s 154-pound finals after defeating Parker “Zika” Revers in the quarterfinals and Timothy Mikulski in Monday’s semifinals.

Beyond the development of his boxing skills, Blood has fostered a great appreciation for the unique nature of the sport, thanks to his time in the club.

“I think [boxing] teaches self-reliance,” Blood said. “You’re the only person responsible for yourself in the ring. But at the same time, in our club, it’s a very much team-oriented sport. We work together, we train together and we are all united by our club’s mission. That duality is very fulfilling.”

Blood cited the team aspect of the group’s boxing approach as a distinctive element of the Notre Dame club. The program of liberal studies and economics double-major admires the diversity of interests within the squad.

“There’s no common background here,” Blood said. “There’s guys from all different majors, backgrounds and interests. Everyone is going to go on to different things, which is cool.”

The club’s mission has played an especially important role in Blood’s time with the club. Two summers ago, Blood was chosen by the upperclassmen in the group to visit Bangladesh and witness the Holy Cross Mission firsthand.

“I had the opportunity to go to Bangladesh … and that’s a great tradition that our club started eight years ago,” Blood said. “I got to go over with Alex [Alcantara], Garrett [Schmelling] and Chris [Dethlefs], who are all captains this year as well. We got to stay in the local parishes, meet some of the Holy Cross priests and we got a whole lot of perspective on what the program means.”

Blood even came to develop an interest in international peace as a result of the trip.

“I hope to join the Peace Corps after I graduate,” Blood said. “I’d really just like to be involved in some international development [program], which was definitely partially inspired by my trip to Bangladesh.”

Blood’s contributions to and involvement in the Notre Dame boxing club are significant, and have been rewarded by being selected as a captain this year. He is tasked with taking on a role of real responsibility within the club: leading the underclassmen inside the ring and out.

“[Being a captain has] really been the perfect cap to my time in the club,” Blood said. “When I was an underclassman, I really looked up to the seniors leading workouts. And this is very much a student-run and student-driven club, and the mission is really alive. So, to be able to be one of those guys who is at the front of it, here, in my last year, has been great. More than boxing itself or competing, being out there in front of those guys and helping lead workouts has been awesome.”

Nevertheless, Blood’s time in the club is not over yet. He is preparing for his final round fight this Friday against Joe Guilfoile, an opponent for whom Blood has great respect. This is not the first time the two have seen each other in the ring. Blood lost to Guilfoile in the 2014 quarterfinals, but Blood is hungry for revenge and ready to go.

“[Guilfoile] has been in the club since he was a freshman,” Blood said. “He is definitely a veteran and a really good boxer.”

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