MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GA -- To keep the "warrior spirit" alive among Marines at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, a boxing tournament is currently in the making.
Sgt. Maj. Stephen Martin, Marine Corps Logistics Bases sergeant major, is coordinating the event. Although his purpose is to put all the pieces together for a great fun-filled event, his main focus is safety.
Approximately 30 boxers are training with Sgt. Jeffery Gibson, data analyst with Materiel Command, for the event, scheduled for September. The majority of the boxers are amateurs and have no prior boxing experience. Among the contenders are several female Marines who will square off against each other.
Boxing originated more than 5,000 years ago. The sport was popular in ancient Greece, and in its early forms, pitted men against each other to exchange punches to the face only. The match continued until one man was knocked unconscious, at which time his opponent continued beating him until death. Boxing was eventually banned until later years when rules were introduced to make the sport less savage. Boxing pits two men against each other and is a true test of brute strength.
Although boxers are already training on base, Martin and Gibson continue to look for more men and women to step up to the challenge. During the training Gibson covers everything from conditioning to defensive and offensive boxing maneuvers. He makes sure all the boxers will have the endurance and skill to last three rounds in the ring.
Martin encourages all base service members to take part in the event, even sailors and soldiers because they too are part of the base community, he said.
During the fights each boxer will wear protective headgear, a mouthpiece and 16 ounce gloves. They will square off in a regulation size 20-foot by 20-foot ring. Inside the ring with the fierce competitors, a referee will officiate the match. Along with making sure it is a clean fight, the referee will also ensure the fighters' safety. Each match will consist of three two-minute rounds. If either opponent is not knocked down, the winner of the match will be decided by a panel of judges.
To ensure each match is fair, boxers will be paired according to weight, height and skill level, said Martin. When deciding who will fight whom, Martin will tell each boxer who they will fight and if for any reason they feel uncomfortable fighting that designated opponent, Martin will choose someone else.
"I want each boxer to feel comfortable with who they are fighting," said Martin. "I want the fight to be fair so it will be a challenge for each boxer."
The boxing tournament is designed to be a night when Marines, sailors, civilian personnel and their families and guests can watch boxers duke it out with each other, said Martin. For the audience's entertainment, a Disc Jockey will also be on hand to "spin records" between matches. Martin also plans to have "half time entertainment" for the audience. In addition to entertainment, food and refreshments will be sold.
"This is something that if you don't go, you'll regret it when you hear other people talk about the fun they had," said Martin. "I've hosted other smokers [boxing event] in the past, and they've been a real success with the audience."
Martin was stationed at Kings Bay, Ga., from 1996-99 where he hosted six boxing events to raise money for the base's Enlisted Marines Birthday Ball. He decided to host the same event in Albany, hoping it will be just as successful, if not more.
All the money raised at the event will be donated to the MCLB Albany Enlisted Marine Corps Birthday Ball.
"This is an event where people can come and enjoy themselves for a minimal fee," said Martin. "This event isn't designed to make a lot of money, but instead to have a cheap event people can enjoy themselves at.
"Not only will the boxing be entertaining for spectators, but it will boost the individuals' morale who box," said Martin. "It takes a lot of courage to step into the ring and challenge another man to fight. After the fight, they'll have great self-confidence, knowing they've fought someone and held their own."
Marines, sailors and soldiers interested in competing in the smoker can contact Martin at 639-5271 or Gibson at 639-5682. Gibson will train anyone willing to compete.