Soldiers, supporters and boxing fanatics gathered in the Barnes Field House gym here March 7 and Saturday for the 2013 All Army Boxing Championships. Soldier athletes competed for the opportunity to advance to the USA Boxing National Championships.
Leslie Woods, chief of sports, fitness and aquatics for Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation here described all the FMWR preparation that began months before the boxers even arrived.
“It’s really no different than any other event; we coordinate through the installation. We make sure the housing is available, the transportation is available, the Honor Guard and especially the medical team,” Woods said. “That’s the big one because they have such an active part in this process. From the day the boxers get here they get physicals, and they’re monitored through the whole month they’re here.”
“It’s probably about a four-month process that’s decided once the national governing body for boxing, USA Boxing, gives us the date of their national championships because that’s where these guys are headed,” he continued. “So once they give us that date, we start preparing for the camp here.”
In order to advance to the All Army Boxing Championships, Woods said the boxers began locally at their duty stations.
“They had to go through their installation sports directors, and usually the installation they come from has a club system,” Woods said. “It’s no different than any other All Army sport for Soldiers: they apply online at All Army Sports; the applications go to the commanders for approval; they come to me for approval if it’s a local athlete; and then it goes to the Army Sports office where it gets the input from the coaches.”
The coaches have their own standards and requirements for applicants in order to ensure Soldier athlete safety while keeping the fights balanced and entertaining, Woods said.
“Generally speaking, the coaches are looking for someone with experience, at least five bouts, or fights,” he said. “They don’t want to bring anyone out here and just throw them in the ring without any experience.”
Upon arrival, the boxers immediately began their rigorous training regimens, which included endurance-based cardiovascular exercises mixed with boxing drills intended to hone the fighters’ techniques. Spc. Jeremy Durgin, a boxer representing Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson, Alaska, said he and the rest of the Soldier athletes ran six to seven miles every morning, and then jumped right into their training sessions.
Prior to the championship bouts, each fighter handled their nerves differently. Some listened to music in their headphones, others refined their combinations. Durgin said he knew his opponent was not to be taken lightly.
“He was a fast type, but I just kept my faith and was focused,” Durgin said. “My mind was in all in it, and I wanted to get to the next level.”
For the victors of each championship bout, “the next level” consists of more extensive training in preparation for the USA Boxing Championships, Woods said. The 2013 USA Boxing National Championships run from March 30 – April 6, and the boxers to represent Team USA in international competitions will be selected based on the national championship results.
Durgin said he and the All-Army boxing champions have aspirations for the future that extend beyond their USA Boxing Championship bouts.
“I’m ecstatic. I’m motivated. I’m ready to train right now,” he said. “We’re going to step up the training, make it a little more intense. We all look forward to being the next Olympic team!”
Soldiers competing in the USA Boxing Championship:
♦ 1st. Lt. Sergio Villarreal, Fort Bliss, Texas
♦ Spc. Jeremy Durgin, Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson, Alaska
♦ Spc. Javar Jones, Army National Guard, Ind.
♦ Pfc. Jon Ewing, Fort Bragg, N.C.
♦ Spc. Adrian McKinney, Fort Drum, N.Y.
♦ Spc. Fallon Farrar, Fort Carson, Colo.
♦ Staff Sgt. Reyes Marquez, Fort Carson, Colo.
♦ Spc. Steven Nelson, Fort Carson, Colo.
♦ Sgt. Marvin Carey, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii