EL PASO, Texas - The Border Rumble boxing completion was held at Soto Gym to featured two-man bouts for 24 local troops Sept. 21, 2012 here. The Morale, Wellness and Recreation Sports 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, stated that he hoped to “give boxers the ambiance of a professional fight with smoke, lights, music, and professional boxing judges.”
Dressed in traditional boxing headgear and boxing gloves over hand-wraps, “each fighter 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. Amateur fighters with five armature fights or less were welcome to compete in the competition.
Spc. Erick Figueroa and Pfc. Robert Lopez are two soldiers in the Bravo Company, 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. Robert, 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 Brigade, was present to support both soldiers in his unit; he stated 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. Bradlye Haven, a combat medic in 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, won a bout against Pfc. Marlo Lopez, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment. Haven, a native of Oakland, Calif., has a history in mixed martial arts and weighed in at 149 pounds – two pounds lighter than his opponent. Spc. Gary Messec, 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, won a bout by unanimous decision against Sgt. Randy Lopez, Bravo Company, 127th Aviation Support Battalion, weighing in at 166 – one pound more than his opponent. Messec, a native of Conroe, Texas, has a fighting history in mixed martial arts, 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 completion for soldiers on Fort Bliss. The Intramural boxing program will begin in the spring of 2013 and pre-season boxing events give fighters an opportunity to practice and increases overall preparedness.