Posted by MICHAEL AMAKOR on Feb 25, 2013
Boxing From Annapolis – Midshipmen Battle for Glory and History

Boxing From Annapolis – Midshipmen Battle for Glory and History

By Michael Amakor | February 24, 2013
For more Pictures of the event go to the USNA Boxing Facebook page

Event: 72nd Annual Brigade Boxing Championship
Venue: 1900 Alumni Hall – US Naval Academy Annapolis Maryland
Date: Friday, February 22, 2013

In the historic town of Annapolis Maryland along the banks of the Severn River lies the United States Naval Academy nestled on 338 acres of prime real estate and the training ground for future naval commanders and marines.

It is no small feat to qualify for admission to the Academy. First off, prospective cadets have to meet rigid admission requirements, pass a battery of assessments and obtain a nomination from their respective Senators or congressional representatives for admission.

After scaling all those hurdles they are appointed as midshipmen and then they begin the vigorous academic work that they must excel at to qualify for their desired career track and endure never ending arduous physical exercises before they can graduate four years later.

Among the many varsity sports available to these midshipmen including the usual suspects like basketball and football, is the sport of boxing, which all midshipmen are required to participate in as part of the Academy’s physical education program.

Like every other sport, there is a always a competition to find out the neighborhood tough guy, and so it happens that every year the elite midshipmen boxers from the program compete in three-round matches within their weight class at the storied Alumni Hall, in an arena ringed with banners and plaques from past Navy basket ball games.

For these elite fighters who participate in boxing and make it to the championship finals it is more than about wanting to be the toughest guy or gal in the brigade. It is also about being part of history and having their names etched in gold on a plaque as a Brigade champion.

For others its part of a family tradition and for others it is a chance to make their mark for the first time.

When I arrived at Alumni Hall shortly after 1815 hundred hours, the arena was empty causing me to wonder what all the hoopla surrounding the event was all about, and for good reason, as this particular championship had gained some attention after being played out in the movie Annapolis staring Tyrese Gibson and James Franco which hit theaters in 2006 and later become a home rental favorite.

I did not have to wait very long as the Naval clan including a unit of elderly alumni in black dinner jackets featuring former Naval Secretaries in its ranks took their assigned seats around the ring.

Others, including midshipmen, naval officers and other civilian enthusiasts began trouping into the hall and ringed the arena anxious for the nights festivities to begin.

As the preparations began you forgot all about the Navy as the familiar tools of the boxing game began to morph ringside including the ring announcer, the judges at the four corners of the ring and the various corners quickly placing spit buckets and towels at vantage points ringside.

Typical of the Navy, its scoring manual read like an attack order plan with points awarded for attack – torpedoes launched – and defense – dive, man your stations, and points for aggressiveness from a willingness to press the attack with due regard to your own protection – which I translated to mean, fight on, but make sure protect your crew mates and the ship at all costs.

For the finale, they boxing midshipmen were grouped into the red and the yellow teams. The red corner receiving ringside instructions from a Navy Lieutenant and the yellow team received its instructions from an experienced enlisted man.

The first fight of the evening opened up at about 19:00 hours and proceeded thereafter with military precision with few breaks starting off with an entertaining bout between midship women MIDN Sam Glaeser (15CO, 2016) taking on the valiant Abby Khushf in the Junior Welterweight Division (139lbs) both from 15th Company.

MIDN Abbey (15CO, 2013) fired off the first salvos against the bigger and taller, but off balance Glaeser who eventually started lining up her shots and landing them more consistently to win the fight as announced by the Navy.

In the first fight in the male category, Jose Rojas (7CO, 2016) was outclassed by the more experienced Richard Gonong (17CO, 2015) a 2012 112lbs Midwest regional champion stepping up in weight in a frenetic fast paced fight with both seamen strafing and missing against each other with their torpedoes.

However, by the second round Rojas was bleeding and had perceptibly slowed down, allowing Gonong to land a couple of hooks.

By that that time I realized that no scores were typically announced, Gonong was simply declared the winner. His brigade boxing record improved to 2-1, Rojas accomplished something by becoming a 2013 finalist.

In the third best fight of the evening, Jim Lawson took the scrapper right to Justin Suen (5CO, 2013) and almost knocked him out in the 2nd round. However, it was not to be as the outgunned Suen returned fire repeatedly to make it a crowd-pleasing contest. At the end, it was not enough and Lawson (22CO, 2016) was announced as the winner of this fight in the Junior Featherweight division (119lbs)

In the next bout, both fighters came to fight, but MIDN Andre Moorehead (7CO, 2014) was more susceptible to counters from Mike Mourafetis (28CO, 2014) when they came head-to-head.

Both fighters traded lots of leather and the blood got flowing with punches between breaks that were booed at by the crowd. In the final round both ships fired off their last salvos to pull out the victory and the Navy declared Mourafetis the winner after the shootout on its sea ring coral in the Welterweight Division (147lbs).

Noah Weintraub (15CO, 2014) showed the skills of a defending champion in besting the overmatched Kellen Lewis (30CO, 2014) in the Middleweight Division (156lbs).

As the navy presented its bigger guns for inspection, there was a perceptibly octaval shift in the firepower from the torpedoes being unleashed by these combatants and more keenly felt and heard all the way up into the stands.

Sean Hunt Scuttles Birnbaum

Mike Birnbaum (8CO, 2013) looked like he had the eye of the tiger from ringside with his loaded guns ready to rumble but he had Sean Hunt the 2012 Midwest Regional champion to contend with.

A flash dropped Birnbaum in round one for a standing eight count. Thereafter MIDN Hunt (18CO, 2014) closed the show with some hooks and a sudden lunging combination, which plastered Birnbaum onto the canvas for the count.

After a few pensive moments, the crowd gave a standing ovation after Birnbaum recovered consciousness, sat on a stool and eventually left the ring under his own recognizance.

Needless to say Sean Hunt was declared the winner of this Super Middleweight (165lbs) championship fight.

Lonero Scraps past Looney

Being the taller, lankier and rangier of the two combatants put Looney (6CO, 2016) at the disadvantage against Lonero in the pocket. Lonero (8CO, 2013) also weaved some of Looney’s strafing power shots while buzzing him to the head and banging his rib cage while maneuvering him into the ropes.

Both combatants picked up the action in the third round after receiving frantic instructions from their respective corners and very soon, their free for all bombs against each other began sending blood and sweat ringside and caused the fans ringside to begin cheering in delight as well as a give a standing ovation at the end of the crowd-pleasing scrapper.

It was a very difficult fight to score but Lonero was declared the winner of this fight in the Light Heavyweight (175lbs) division.

Anthony Alexander (20CO 2016) defeated Cody Cordero from 20th Company in the Cruiserweight Division (185lbs).

The more experienced defending champion Keon Briscoe (16CO, 2015) effectively suppressed the nagging spurts of gun powder showered by Max Goldwasser from the 29th Company also in the Cruiserweight division (185lbs) to become the winner.

Max Storms Haworth

Since the inception of boxing as a professional sport, fans have always been fascinated by the heavyweight division, and there is nothing more prestigious than being declared the heavyweight champion and it was no different here as the last fight of the event for the Brigade Heavyweight championship between senior midshipmen Matt Brewer (25CO, 2013)and Haworth (11CO, 2013) turned out to be the best fight of the night.

From the red corner emerged lumbering behemoth Haworth, a four-year navy football player who controlled the pace of the fight with very deliberate jabs and straight lead rights that immediately busted up Matt turning his nose into a bloody mess.

However, midway through the round, Matt began storming forward with some wild combinations that began to daze Haworth due to their frequency and eventually forced a standing eight count.

Haworth tried to fight back but was in real trouble at the end of the round before he was saved by the bell, and it was downhill for Haworth after-words.

Matt who sensed he could out-maneuver Haworth began moving and assailing Haworth and basically neutralized Haworth’s power with his speed almost taking him out in the second round forcing another count. Midway into the third Haworth switched to defense due to a busted lip but he managed to stay in the fight to close out the round and the fight.

The bloodied Matt Brewer was declared the winner of the fight.

The alumni all hailed the combatants “Good Fight Guys” Way to Go, Good Job”

Those expressed honorable sentiments reminded me of the storied fight between future Secretary of the Navy James Webb, and future Marine Corps officer Lt. Col., Oliver North, who fought each other in the welterweight category in the same competition back in 1967.

Little did they know back then that they would become famous as the passed this important competitive landmark as midshipmen on their way to national fame and recognition, who knows where these midshipmen would be in the future, only time would tell.

The winners from this championship event will participate in the National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) championships this spring where they will engage other tough guys from the uniformed services in fights that will become historic and noteworthy in retrospect many years down the sea lane.

Way to Go Guys, I murmured in agreement, Way to Go!

See you next year at the 73rd Brigade Boxing Championships.


Michael Amakor has written 174 post in this blog.

Michael “Keep Punching” Amakor has been the Chief Scribe of popular boxing website FightKings.Com since 2003. He has written over 100 articles about boxing that have been vicariously read and extensively blogged across the internet and on major boxing websites. He can be seen regularly at the fights giving round by round commentary and he is a regular commentator on the boxing radio and TV circuit.

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