World class boxers sparring off at Fort Huachuca - Tucson News Now

World class boxers sparring off at Fort Huachuca

World class boxers sparring off at Fort Huachuca

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SIERRA VISTA, AZ (Tucson News Now) -  The 2014 All Army boxing match kicked off at the Fort Huachuca Army post, pitting soldier against soldier in the boxing ring.

More than 30 U.S. soldiers from army posts all over the world, gathered in Cochise County for the three and a half week long training camp and championship tournaments.

Army boxing began at Ft. Huachuca in 1987 and has gone on to become a prestigious sport, with many soldiers going on to the Olympics.

Staff described their boxers as some of the best amateur boxers in the world.

Some likened the training to be similar to boot camp.  It required the same amount of dedication, perseverance, and hard work to make it to into the ring.

Staff Sgt. Charles Leverette who coached the boxers said the event was like the "Superbowl" of the army.  He described Wednesday night's matches as the play-offs, with the "Superbowl" to take place on Saturday.

Soldiers who were taking part in the matches said they were honored to part of a prestigious event.

With the military budget shrinking, top notch sporting events like this were a big recruiting tool for the army. 


"I use it as a recruiting tool not just for the boxing team but for the army as a whole.  Inner city is what the boxing world is made of, is inner city youth," said Staff Sergeant Charles Leverette, who coached the boxing team.


Specialist Marquise Moore from Maryland said he had been one of those inner city youth from Maryland.


"I had to stay away from certain things and the army was the best way to do it," said Moore.  He added that two of his friends were interested in joining the army after seeing him in the boxing ring.


"It takes a whole lot.  I don't think I would have made it at this level back at home on my own," said Moore.


Since joining the army, Moore had won the Junior Olympics, and several Golden Gloves.

Specialist Alexandra Love from Seattle was also drawn into the army for the boxing.  She had met the coaches as a civilian and decided to enlist so she could continue training with them.


"When I became a soldier I was joining this powerful team, the best team in the world.  Now when I get in the ring, it's not just me it's the whole United States army team behind me," said Love.


In 2012, Love became the number one female boxer in the country after winning the U.S. World Championship in her class.  She said she hoped to take her boxing career all the way.


"A gold medal in the Olympics, that's my goal," said Love.

In the ring, rank was out the window.  It was not uncommon to see a lower ranking private throwing a punch at a Captain.


"You're not going to get any favors because you outrank somebody in the opposite corner.  It's challenging because you have to be an athlete, but once you're out of the ring you're a soldier again," said Leverette.


We asked Specialists Moore and Love how it felt to knock out a soldier who outranked them.


"When you swing it, I see nothing.  I don't even see the person no more," said Moore.


"It's fun.  I'm kidding, it's a sport.  At the end of the day it's boxing," said Love.

Despite the competition, Coach Leverette said the team motto was "soldier first."


"If we got to hit the ground running everybody here is mentally ready to do their first duty, and that's soldier," said Leverette.

He added that he was proud of his team this year as they had a lot of potential.


"I'm going to be very optimistic and say I think I got the whole Olympic team here in this group somewhere." said Leverette.


The championships will be held on September 12th and 13th at Barnes Fieldhouse at Fort Huachuca.  The public is invited to attend.  Tanja Linto, a Public Information Officer for the army installation reminded visitors to bring their drivers license and proof of registration.

The final World Military Championship will be held in Korea for the women, and in Kazakhstan for the men. 


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