Bengal Bouts to kick off 90th-annual tournament
John Salem | Thursday, February 13, 2020
Thursday marks the beginning of the 90th Bengal Bouts competition, a series of boxing tournaments put on by Notre Dame’s boxing club to raise money for a number of Holy Cross-run institutions in Bangladesh.
These institutions, which include hospitals and primary schools, are mostly located in the rural areas of the nation, where poverty is most severe. Bengal Bouts has been raising money for these institutions for a number of years and have donated a total of over $2.5 million throughout the course of the tournament’s existence.
“There are a lot of reasons why we do the Bouts, whether it to stay in shape, for competition or for the camaraderie of the team,” junior and boxing club captain Kyle Mettler said. “However, the most important aspect of Bengal Bouts is, without a doubt, the mission we are working towards: raising money for those less fortunate in Bangladesh.”
According to senior and club president Parker Revers, the tournaments have raised at least $100,000 every single year since 2009. This year, the club is setting its goal at $200,000.
“We work directly with the Development Office all year to help reach donors, alumni and previous boxers to try and get them back on campus,” Revers said.
This year’s Bengal Bouts are split into 10 distinct weight classes, each of which has its own tournament ranging from eight to 16 boxers. Revers emphasized the club did not want any of their participants resorting to dangerous behavior to cut weight.
“We’re students first, we want to make sure people are eating healthy and not attempting to shed weight for a fight,” he said.
Each of the boxers is ranked according to skill and then seeded accordingly.
“Every one of the boxers participating [is] required to do at least three spars,” Revers said. “After these spars, we come together as coaches and captains to rank the fighters in the different weight classes.”
Though the tournaments are mostly organized by the Notre Dame boxing club, there are several other organizations that contribute to Bengal Bouts’ success.
“We work with RecSports because we fall under them, as well as Halftime. [And] for the national anthem, Notre Dame’s marketing department to broadcast the Bouts,” Revers said. “And also the Office of Information Technologies, who help us stream the fights live on Youtube.”
The participating boxers have come to Bengal Bouts for a variety of reasons.
“I got into boxing mostly to supplement a university sport that I was planning on playing here at Notre Dame,” Mettler said. “I tried it out freshman year and ended up getting hooked.”
Each of the boxing club captains will be participating in the Bouts, including Mettler and Revers. The rest of the captains are seniors Taylor Vucinich, Tim Leisenring, Johnny Link, Chris Lembo and Eric Requet and juniors Lenny Calvo, Bo Heatherman, Dan O’Brien and Ryan Smith.
Preliminaries for the Bouts begin Thursday at 7 p.m. in Purcell Pavillion. The finals will take place Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. in Purcell Pavilion. Tickets are $30 for access to all four rounds of fighting or $10 for access to individual rounds.