Marines

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Cpl. Damarias Russell, a boxer with the All-Marine Boxing Team aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, spars with an opponent during a training session at the AMBT gym aboard the base, Aug. 17. Russell is one of three Marine boxers to compete in the upcoming 53rd Conseil International du Sport Militaire's (International Military Sports Council's) World Military Boxing Championship, to be held aboard Camp Lejeune in October.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Joanthan G. Wright

Gearing up for CISM, Marine boxer looks back at career

17 Aug 2010 | Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright

Cpl. Damarias Russell, a boxer with the All-Marine Boxing Team aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, has been training up to this point since he was a child.

Oct. 8-17, Russell, along with 250 other service members hailing from 25 countries, will compete in the 53rd Conseil International du Sport Militaire’s (International Military Sports Council’s) World Military Boxing Championship.

Representing the 165-pound weight class, Russell earned the opportunity to compete in the upcoming CISM event by defeating Seaman Abdulla Johnson of Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., at the 2010 Armed Forces Boxing Championship aboard Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme, Calif.

“I grew up in a household of eight brothers and three sisters, so there were a lot of arguments going on all the time,” said Russell. “Whenever (we argued), our dad would ask us if we wanted to fight to resolve it. I remember having boxing gloves on my hands since I was three.”

Russell competed in his first boxing competition while on leave after graduating recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in early 2007. He defeated an opponent that had more than 70 fights under his belt.

From there, Russell continued to maintain a regular boxing training regimen throughout his various duty stations and deployments. Enlisting into an intelligence military occupational specialty, he was attached to 3rd Intelligence Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force, out of Marine Corps Base Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan. From there he was stationed with 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii. It was with this unit that he deployed to Iraq with in 2009.

“There wasn’t much opportunity to train in boxing over there, but I did a lot of (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program) to sustain myself,” said Russell. “I also instructed a few Marines on how to box.”

After returning to the states, Russell was assigned to Marine Air Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, where his boxing career soon became more than a hobby.

“In Miramar, I began to pick up on my boxing again and trained as much as I could,” said Russell. “One day, when I was out on a date, my coach called me and said that Coach Ron Simms (previous AMBT coach) was at the gym and that if I got over there, it was going to change my life.”

Russell went to the gym, with his date still accompanying him, and sparred in front of Simms. Russell’s performance impressed the head coach who solidified his place as a Marine boxer in January 2010.

With the CISM event now in his sights, Russell said is confident he will defeat any opponent that he is matched against. While he is positive he will win, he still respects all that it has taken to get him to this point and the opportunity to compete in the first place.

“I’ve always wanted to compete at the national or international level, so I feel honored to take part in the CISM event,” said Russell. “It’s just one of those things you have to be thankful for.”