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irish insider

Jackson Wrede finds deep connection in Bangladesh

| Friday, March 2, 2018

Bengal Bouts’ motto is “strong bodies fight, that weak bodies may be nourished.” Bengal Bouts raises nearly $200,000 each year for Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh to build houses, schools and churches. Many have fought in and donated to Bengal Bouts, but few have traveled to Bangladesh to see those donations at work.

Enter Jackson Wrede, a senior and two-time captain representing Knott Hall in the 204-pound weight class. Despite Wrede’s boxing prowess — he advanced to the finals in both his freshman and sophomore years — he believes the really important part of the program is the money that it raises and the people it helps in Bangladesh.

“Every summer, we send a few guys over to Bangladesh. I was one of four guys to get selected to go over by the members who have gone in the past,” Wrede said. “We spent a week over there in the capital city of Dhaka living with priests. After that, we moved into the rural area where we living with priests at a church for almost two months.

“We taught kids English; we spent a lot of time visiting nearby villages where the tribal people lived. We were guests in their homes. It was a really cool trip to see where our money goes and what kind of impact we make over there. It was funny because the whole time we were over there, we were identified as ‘the boxers.’ I don’t really think of myself as a boxer, per se; I’m more of a student and a son and a lot of other things, but the fact they identify us as that shows us how important the club is to them, and knowing that we do make a difference made it an awesome summer experience.”

Despite being a two-year captain, Wrede has never won Bengal Bouts. He finished second his first two years in the program and lost in the semifinals last year. Many people would be discouraged getting so close to their goal, but Wrede uses it as motivation. He remains focused on achieving his ultimate goal of winning a title.

“Any time you’re going to lose in the finals, that lights a fire in you,” Wrede said. “Last year, I felt like I was almost regressing. Last year, I probably wasn’t as involved in practice, even though I was a captain. I just didn’t have that motivation. A combination of losing in the semifinals and going to Bangladesh and seeing the importance of this club has helped me take it more seriously senior year.”

Wrede now has one more shot at a title, going against junior Montana Giordano for the 204-pound weight division championship. Wrede has been here before; he knows what he needs to do to win.

“As deep and complicated as boxing can be, it’s a pretty simple sport in the fact that, you don’t want to get hit and you want to hit the other guy,” Wrede said. “I know how Montana fights. He’s a tough kid, he’s known in the club as a tough customer. I have a good feel for his style. I’m pretty confident that If I execute my game plan and do the stuff that I’m good at — keeping my hands up, moving my head, throw my hooks — I’ll get the win on Friday.”

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