Confidence beyond the ring: Vice president Christian Murray builds confidence in fellow boxers
Nate Moller | Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Bengal Bouts vice president Christian Murray has thrived as a leader for the club this season and has enjoyed serving as a mentor for underclassmen in the club.
“Being a mentor is what I see everyday as my main role in the club,” Murray said. “If there’s a novice boxer out there who’s taking the time out of their day to come here and to want to better themselves and better some people all the way around the world, I feel like it’s my responsibility to be here and help them any way that I can.”
Murray described being the vice president this season as a surreal experience initially.
“It was a bit surreal at the beginning. Last year I was a captain, but despite being a captain last year, I was mostly just focused on workouts and technique and the real boxing side of the program,” he said.
Since becoming the vice president, Murray shared that he has had more administrative duties in organizing the club and setting goals for the club to accomplish.
“My role has definitely become more organizational in having to lead the club since becoming the vice president. Obviously I am still involved with the whole boxing aspect, but a lot of it has been setting these big goals we want to accomplish and then trying to motivate the other captains and get the whole club on board to accomplish those goals,” Murray said.
Murray talked about his experience as a freshman boxer in the club three years ago.
“When I first joined the club, I was all about the boxing side of things. I wanted to get fit, I wanted to look cool, throw good punches and have my friends cheer for me,” he said.
As Murray has become more immersed in the program, he discussed how the mission in Bangladesh has become more meaningful to him than the sport itself.
“As you get more experience in the program, it becomes less about boxing. A lot of times when you first start, you want to devote all of your time to getting better as a boxer, but as you grow in the program, it becomes more about how can I help fundraise the most money?” Murray said. “You realize that the hours you spend here and the work you put in doesn’t really compare to what people around the world are going through.”
Murray shared that one of his memories from his four years in Bengal Bouts came during his sophomore year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because there was no in-person practice, the club often had Zoom workouts or met up in really small groups in the basement of buildings.
“Not a lot of people showed up to these. You would show up to a Zoom workout, and there would be 30 people on it in a club of 200,” Murray said.
Despite these challenges with practice attendance and not being able to have a tournament, the clubs still raised $200,000 for the mission during the pandemic.
Murray was amazed by the commitment of the club to the mission, and from that point on, he shared that he hasn’t missed a practice.
“It showed me just how dedicated this club’s members are to the mission. After that, I have never missed a practice since,” Murray said.
Murray is looking forward to seeing growth in each boxer’s confidence during the tournament.
“My favorite thing about the tournament is seeing growth and confidence in every boxer,” Murray said. “With boxing obviously there is the physical side of it and learning a technique and skill that most people have never done before. But really boxing more than anything is a mental sport. The confidence that people learn in the ring is unmatched by anything in any other sport.”
Murray enjoys seeing his teammates grow mentally as they battle through a physically challenging process.
“People step into the ring and come into practice the first day and they’re scared. They might not be in the best shape, but they stick with it and show up everyday,” he said. “Throughout the season and ultimately in the tournament, you see this huge boost in their confidence as they prove to themselves through a very physical endeavor that they are mentally capable of more than they ever thought was possible.”
Murray knows that the confidence gained in the ring extends far beyond the confines of the tournament or practice.
“Not only is that true in the ring, but I think that’s true in life as well. It’s great to see a lot of guys that take it and they add it into other aspects of their life,” Murray said. “They want to be a force for good in the world by taking what they have learned in the ring here and that translates for the rest of their life.”