Border ‘rumbles’ at Fort Bliss with boxing tournament
Sgt. Ida Irby,
24th Press Camp Headquarters:
The Border Rumble boxing event at Mitchell W. Stout Gym Sept. 21 featured 24 local troops who donned boxing gloves and competed. The Morale, Wellness and Recreation’s sports division, along with El Paso Golden Gloves, hosted the community event to give boxers an opportunity to compete for gold or silver medals for their participation.
Paul Fernandez, MWR sports coordinator, said he hoped to “give boxers the ambiance of a professional fight with smoke, lights, music and professional boxing judges.” Fernandez noted that each fighter, dressed in traditional boxing headgear and boxing gloves over hand-wraps, “was given the chance to feel like a featured fighter.”
Each bout was scored for a total of three rounds by two ringside judges and a referee. If a knockout or disqualification did not occur, the fight was determined by decision. Like traditional boxing matches, the referee identified the winner by raising his arm at the end of the bout.
For Soldiers fighting in the competition, amateur fighters were welcome with five amateur fights or fewer.
Spc. Erick Figueroa and Pfc. Robert Lopez are two Soldiers in 26th Tactical Acquisition Battery, 212th Fires Brigade, who participated in the rumble.
The first boxer for the night, Figueroa, weighing in at 137, won a bout against Spc. Darrel Hobbs, 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, who weighed in at 138.
Lopez, weighing in at 140, won a bout against Spc. Andrew Haire, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, who weighed in at 143.
First Sgt. Raymond Taylor, 26th TAB, 212th Fires Bde., was present to support both Soldiers in his unit. He said that boxing promotes esprit de corps, fitness and discipline in Soldiers.
“Boxing helps give a positive light to the Soldiers in the unit. [Erick and Robert] are outstanding Soldiers with excellent physical training scores and motivating attitudes,” said Taylor. “We train as we fight; and as you can see, we train hard.”
Spc. Bradley Haven, a combat medic in 1st Bn., 6th Infantry Regt., won a bout against Pfc. Marlo Lopez, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment. Haven has a background in mixed martial arts and weighed in at 149 pounds – two pounds lighter than his opponent.
Spc. Gary Messec, 4th Bn., 17th Infantry Regt., won a bout by unanimous decision against Sgt. Randy Lopez, B Co., 127th Aviation Support Bn., weighing in at 166 pounds – one pound more than his opponent. Messec also has a background in mixed martial arts as well as cage fighting and wrestling. He mentioned that his reason for boxing was to challenge himself after leg surgery and weight-loss in order to continue his Army career.
According to Fernandez, ringside military physicians helped to access injuries; however, there were no major injuries sustained by fighters during the rumble.
Fernandez helped to organize the rumble to incite healthy competition for Soldiers at Fort Bliss. The intramural boxing program will begin in the spring and events like this give the fighters an opportunity to practice and increases overall preparedness.
Editors note: Fighters winning gold medals include: Spc. Erick Figueroa, Spc. Bradley Haven, Spc. Gary Messec, Staff Sgt. Daniel Rios, Pfc. Robert Lopez, Spc Marvin Comejo, Pfc. Andrew Turnbull, Spc. Nicholes Burke, Pfc. Travis Copron, Sgt. Essa Almassud, Spc. Terry Huggins, Spc. Steven Tyler
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