Monday, February 29, 2016

Naval Academy Midshipmen Compete in 75th Annual Brigade Boxing Championships

Twenty-four midshipman boxers competed in the Naval Academy’s 75th Annual Brigade Boxing Championships Feb. 26 in Alumni Hall.

The 75th Annual Brigade Boxing Championships

The Brigade Boxing Championships showcase the most elite midshipman boxers, each performing in three-round matches within their weight class.

The twelve champions from this year’s competition will go on to the regional competition for a chance to qualify for the National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) Championships held in the spring.

Midshipman 1st Class Danny O’Neill, 22, of Medford, N.Y. was the only boxer of the night to earn the Tony Rubino Four-Time Brigade Champion award. Only 20 midshipmen have accomplished this feat since the award was first given in 1970.

“I am proud to be a part of Navy boxing, and I have made some of the best friends I will ever have,” said O’Neill.

Midshipman 1st Class Danny O'Neill, winner of
the Tony Rubino Four-Time Brigade Champion award

The award is named after Tony Rubino, who arrived at the Naval Academy in 1947 as an assistant boxing coach to Spike Webb. In 1954 Rubino took over the head coaching duties and coached until 1963. He then became the deputy physical educational officer until his retirement in 1982, at which point he was honored with professor emeritus status.

As part of the academy’s physical education program, all midshipmen are required to participate in boxing, and boxing is also offered as a club sport at the academy. The boxing team participates in invitational competitions in the fall and spring, as well as in ongoing intramural bouts. 

“We use boxing as an opportunity to create an environment in which midshipmen have to think and react under fire or stress. Boxing allows mids to find out how they react to fear,” said head boxing coach Jim McNally.

This is McNally’s 30th year coaching boxing at the Naval Academy. In that time, his teams have won five national championships. He has coached 43 individual national champions who have won 61 national titles.

All midshipmen are required to participate in boxing, and boxing is also offered as a club sport

“At some point in [the mids’] military career, they may have to face some life and death situations where lives are at stake. That's not the time to find out if they can handle the fear they may be facing,” McNally said. “Hopefully by overcoming their fears in the controlled setting of the boxing ring, it will give them confidence going forward to deal with other stressful situations.”

The boxing program at the Naval Academy started in 1865, and today the Naval Academy’s Brigade Boxing Championship generates hundreds of spectators and fans.

The 2016 Brigade Boxing Champions:

Midshipman 1st Class Michelle Soto
Midshipman 3rd Class Paata Gujejiani
Midshipman 3rd Class Portia Norkaitis
Midshipman 1st Class VJ Sakbun
Midshipman 1st Class Danny O’Neill
Midshipman 1st Class Dave Von Savage
Midshipman 3rd Class Josh Gray
Midshipman 2nd Class Jordan Davis
Midshipman 1st Class Jourdan Looney
Midshipman 1st Class Reuben Druckrey
Midshipman 3rd Class Charles Patterson
Midshipman 2nd Class Stephanie Simon

See more photos on the Naval Academy's Flickr site.

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