Friday night, the United States Naval Academy hosted the 76th Annual Brigade Boxing Championships.
As part of the academy’s physical education program, all midshipmen are required to participate in boxing class their plebe year. The Brigade Boxing Championship showcases the most elite midshipmen competing in three, two-minute rounds within their specific weight class. This year’s card featured 14 fights.
Four fights featured females with weight classes ranging from 112lbs to 165lbs. Women began boxing in the tournament in 2004.
The women’s cards were highlighted by two-time national champ Stephanie Simon from Vancouver, Wa. She made easy work of Jo Martin, knocking her down in the first round with surgical precision in her punches, and continuing that dominance to a unanimous decision.
The tournament also included two young men from Maryland, Josh Looney and Dan Hawkins.
Looney, a junior from Waldorf, MD, challenged Evan Stargel in an 185lbs bout.
Stargel came out early and nearly won the bout in the first round as Looney was taking combo after combo. Looney made precise punches when they were available but in the first two rounds, he kept a defensive posture.
In the third round, he came out swinging. Stargel was slowing down and dropping his hands. Looney found room for punch-after-punch, drawing loud gasps from the entire crowd who were brought to their feet by the excitement.
But it wasn’t enough. Stargel would win arguably the best fight of the night in a split decision.
Hawkins, a sophomore from Annapolis, MD, battled Reggie Miles in the Heavyweight bout.
Hawkins is a unique story. Originally brought to the academy for wrestling, he struggled academically and decided to redirect his time on his studies. But, because the Naval Academy has a policy that requires all students to participate in an extracurricular sport, Hawkins took to boxing.
Hawkins came out swinging early, but the size difference was too much. His opponent Reggie Miles had an incredible reach and height advantage. But Hawkins is a fighter, whether it’s wrestling or boxing.
He would keep himself tucked until he could reach up and connect with big right hooks. The crowd erupted every time he would counter against Miles.
Unfortunately for the native son of Annapolis, it wasn’t enough as Miles won by unanimous decision.
The night was full of excitement. You would have thought you were watching the Rumble in the Jungle with each spectator on the edge of their seat. The crowd was filled with support for either fighter in the ring. Chants erupting, homemade signs supporting their shipmates and loud cheers mixed with heated boo’s when the victor was announced.
The Winners from the competition go on to a regional competition in order to qualify for the National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) Championships held in the spring.
Anna Vargas vs. Sophie Lekas – 112
Jake Clary vs. Nate Fields – 119
Zoe Wang vs. Ally Annick – 132
Matt Suarez vs. Tanner Strawbridge – 132
Bee Nguyen vs. Tosi Oue – 139
Mikayla Lint vs. Alex Larranaga – 147
Taylor Yohe vs. Taras Klymyuk – 147
Princeton Luong vs. Rick Ontiveros – 156
Alex Olajide vs. John Makiling – 165
Stephanie Simon vs. Jo Martin – 165
Peter Ventola vs. Jordan Davis – 175
Evan Stargel vs. Josh Looney – 185
Charles Patterson vs. Mack Sponholtz – 195
Dan Hawkins vs. Reggie Miles – Heavyweight