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Joaquin Camara embraces role as Bouts recruiter

| Friday, March 2, 2018

Joaquin Camara is a senior Resident Assistant (RA) living in Keenan Hall, a Bengal Bouts captain and an incredibly tenacious fighter. Camara won the 142-pound weight class in last year’s Bouts and is preparing to compete in this year’s 148-pound final this Friday.

Camara began boxing at Notre Dame his freshman year and immediately became aware of the club’s welcoming atmosphere.

“I actually first found out about Bengal Bouts from watching YouTube videos of the championships previous years the summer before I started my time at Notre Dame,” Camara said. “That sort of faded into my memory as [an] afterthought, but what really got me into the program was the activities fair. The Bengal Bouts guys were so friendly, and they invited me to sign up and join the club, so I did.”

From the first day of training, Camara realized that he would be pushed to his physical limits in a way that would build individual strength and foster true camaraderie.

“The very first day of practice, they gave me the hardest workout I had ever done. It was a group workout; you had a buddy, and there were four stations, one was abs, legs, upper body and full body,” he said. “And in between each one you had to carry your buddy to the station.”

Camara saw that the philosophy of Bengal Bouts was positively transformative, something that he very much wanted to be a part of.

“I realized then that the club’s mission was threefold,” he said. “One, to develop each person [as an] individual. Two, to grow together as a team. And three, to raise money for the missions of Holy Cross in Bangladesh. That threefold mission is something that I really bought into. It really represented everything that I wanted in a club: service, personal development and teamwork in a group of friends. It’s brotherhood, really.”

As one of this year’s 11 Bengal Bouts captains, Camara specializes in recruitment. While that role was of great importance at the beginning of the season, he has been using his role to foster a vibrant and welcoming community within the club over the course of the entire year.

“At first it’s just trying to get numbers of people to show up, but where [the role] really comes into play is getting people to stay, getting people to feel like they’re engaged, to feel like they belong,” he said. “This is a really inclusive club. You try to really build each other up in this program, and that’s sort of a culture I’ve tried to embody in my interactions with the other boxers. I try to mentor them, help them become better at their craft, push them to do the best they can do. … That’s been my main goal.”

Camara, who will be moving on after graduation to work in Chicago as an actuarial consultant, is optimistic about the club’s future, citing the strong dedication and work ethic of the club’s younger members.

“When I look at the club, I see so many upcoming leaders,” Camara said. “So many freshmen, sophomores [and] juniors who have committed themselves to the club already and really bought into that idea of what we stand for as a club. I’m so confident that they will become the future leaders who will inspire future boxers, mentor them and continue on this culture.”

On Friday, Camara will compete in the final Bengal Bouts match of his career. He intends to approach it like he has every other competition: by putting forth his best effort.

“I’m looking forward to showcasing everything that I’ve developed over four years, just giving it my best shot,” he said. “Whatever the outcome, my goal in every single one of my fights is not to beat the opponent, but to do my absolute best.”

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