Richelsen ready for off-season work to yield results in the ring
Joe Everett | Friday, March 1, 2019
Not just a heavyweight in the chelng, senior captain and club president Ryan Richelsen has taken charge of Bengal Bouts this year in all facets. Handling all the responsibilities and behind-the-scenes work that goes into running the club, as well as physically training in an intense setting for his fights themselves, Richelsen has dedicated himself to everything that the Bengal Bouts stand for by firmly believing in the club’s mission.
However, his rise to this extraordinary role started with a pretty ordinary story.
“I guess it’s typical, but a lot of guys come to Notre Dame and they sign up for clubs. A lot of people played sports in high school, and so just finding an athletic outlet [is important]. I was at the activities fair, saw Notre Dame had a boxing club and thought it’d be really cool to join,” Richelsen said. “Joined freshman year, lost my first-ever fight, and then stuck with it the next couple years, and each year gaining friendships, learning the sport better and really getting committed to it and then really buying into the whole fundraising aspect that we do for the Holy Cross missions.”
Richelsen further explained that all the proceeds of the Bengal Bouts go to the Holy Cross missions in Bengladesh, but specifically toward education-based needs of the people there.
“We provide tuition money for people in the rural areas, outcasts from the city and the main areas of Bangladesh,” Richelsen said. “So, this money’s going to people who are in really grave need of it.”
Now, as president of the Bengal Bouts, that fundraising duty falls on his shoulders, along with everything else that goes into creating a four-round boxing tournament that over 120 guys compete in, capped off with a final round that is shown on ESPN3. However, Richelsen says he enjoys all the extra responsibility that comes with the position, and credits the team around him for making his burden lighter. He also finds joy in watching guys improve and excel in their craft.
“It’s been great — I’d say it gives me a whole new perspective on the club,” Richelsen said. “The guys, the other captains, the senior officers have all been an incredible help, and we have a lot of committed guys who are in the program. I can’t thank them enough — it’s been great. It has given me a new perspective on the scope and magnitude of the club, and everything that goes into the tournament. Working day-in and day-out with all the boxers and seeing the progress they’ve made from the very first day of practice to tournament time. They’re completely different boxers, and so that’s exciting to see.”
However, for Richelsen, nothing gets him as excited as finally getting the chance to step in the ring in front of a crowd and showcase the fruits of his labor.
“There’s nothing like the tournament,” Richelsen said. “We’ve been practicing since October, so it’s four months of, almost every day, working out. To have it all pay off in the tournament is just incredible. The competition itself, the fans you have, just the atmosphere — everything around you is electric and exciting. It’s absolutely thrilling to be up there.”
Perhaps this reward is why Richelsen is a believer in the process and the many long, toilsome hours spent preparing to fight. However, the senior captain finds purpose in his brothers within the club, who keep him inspired and motivated.
“As far as every day practice goes, it’s tough. The practices push you mentally and physically, but it’s this sense of brotherhood that we’ve developed within the club,” Richelsen said. “Being with the guys since Day One and just gaining friendships, relationships and working every day, side-by-side with these guys and knowing that all the effort that you put in is going towards a greater cause … and having that be the driving factor for doing one more pushup, squat or whatever we’re doing.”
This Friday, Richelsen is set to compete in the finals of the heavyweight division. After being knocked out in this stage of the competition by a Bengal Bouts legend for the last couple years, Richelsen is eager for one last opportunity to finally hoist the trophy.
“I’m really excited this year. The past two years I went to the finals up against our president from last year, Pat Gordon — incredible boxer,” Richelsen said with a laugh. “He’s the only guy I’ve lost to, so hoping to keep that streak going.”