MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
For the past six months, the anticipation has grown as one of the biggest events of the year was to hit Marines and civilians alike by storm. As calendars opened to the month of October, everyone knew that in the weeks to come, warriors from all corners of the Earth were about to congregate in a single building, preparing as the eve of battle was upon them.
These warriors, amassing for a total of 81 boxers from 15 countries, joined together aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for the 53rd Conseil International du Sport Militaire’s (International Military Sports Council’s) World Military Boxing Championship, Oct. 10 through 16.
Commencing with an opening ceremony at Liversedge Field aboard the base, Oct. 10, all participating boxers marched onto the field in company formation of their respective countries. Music was provided by the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division Band and a drill exposition was preformed by the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Drill Team.
“We’re hosting 15 different countries from Europe and Asia, so it is a very big deal for our base,” said Col. Daniel J. Lecce, commanding officer of MCB Camp Lejeune. “With sports, we as Marines understand that it builds camaraderie, especially a contact sport like this.”
As the opening ceremony concluded, boxers returned to their lodging to prepare for the first boxing session of the week later that evening.
SESSION 1 – OCT. 10
Within the walls of Goettge Memorial Field House aboard the base, a boxing ring sat clean and ready, waiting for the impending fights like a canvas eagerly awaiting a historical portrait to be painted.
The first bout of the evening, in the 60 kg (132 pound) category, Camp Lejeune’s own Lance Cpl. Tommy Roque, of the All-Marine Boxing Team, went up against Sailor Robson Donato Conceicao of Brazil, and emerged victorious after three 5-minute rounds.
“It was a tough fight, but I should expect that from all of them,” said Roque. “He kept tapping me and I kept backing up into the ropes, and once there he unleashed in punches. I’m glad I got this fight out of the way, and even though the next fights are going to be hard as well, I’m going to fight just as hard.”
As the evening progressed, four more matches took place; two 75 kg (165 pound) bouts and two 81 kg (178 pound) bouts. The results are as follows:
75 kg – Cpl. Luca Podda of Italy defeated Cpl. K.S. Bharthal of India.
75 kg – Pvt. Peter Mullenberg of the Netherlands defeated Pvt. Kaupo Arro of Estonia.
81 kg – Pvt. Ainar Karlson of Estonia defeated Pvt. Enver Tuktarov of Ukraine.
81 kg – Sgt. Erdos Janabergenov of Kazakhstan defeated 1st Cpl. Anil Kumar Sumra of India.
“During World War II participating countries played sports games together, so in 1948, just after (WWII), they made an organization out of different countries to make friendly relations between armies,” said Dirk De Vos, adjutant chief of communications of CISM. “Instead of fighting, we’re going to meet each other on the sports field. It opens all the athletes to the different cultures and people, and it grew and grew to where we now have 133 member countries participating in 20 to 25 different sports.”
SESSION 2 – Oct. 11
The second night of the matches contained more than double that of the previous night, pitting country against country in 12 bouts with weight ranges from 52 kg (115 lb) Fly to 91+ kg (200+ lb) Super Heavy. Of these 12 bouts, Team USA had one boxer, Spc. Samuel Vasquez Jr., of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, who defeated Sgt. Carsten Sorensen of Denmark. The rest of the night’s results are as follows:
52 kg – Cpl. P.D. Suresh of Sri Lanka defeated Pvt.Baglan Omarbekov of Kazakhstan.
52 kg – Sailor Julipo Neto of Brazil defeated 1st Cpl. Alex Ferramosca of Italy.
56 kg – Lac. Tdnt. Jayakody of Sri Lanka defeated Sailor Robenilson Vieira de Jesus of Brazil.
56 kg – Pvt. Aslan Mukanov of Kazakhstan defeated 1st Cpl. Jahyn Vittorio Parrinello of Italy.
64 kg – Me. Rgs. Kumarasinghe of Sri Lanka defeated Sailor Ualace Arcanjo of Brazil.
69 kg – Capt. Alexis Vastine of France defeated Sailor Myke Carvalho of Brazil.
69 kg – Sgt. Amit Karki of India defeated As. Aaron Hassette of Trinidad and Tobago.
69 kg – Sgt. Chingiz Berdybekov of Kazakhstan defeated Lac. Wprp. Weerasinghe of Sri Lanka.
91 kg – Sailor Rafael Duarte Lima of Brazil defeated Pvt. Serhii Melnik of Ukraine.
91+ kg – 1st Lt. Andrii Tomchuk of Ukraine defeated JrWO. Hardeep Singh of India.
“The United States will definitely have a tough road ahead in all the weight classes to win a medal,” said Suba Saty, U.S. Armed Forces secretariat. “But the way they have been performing so far, I definitely would not count them out yet.”
Any who laid witness to the weekend bouts, could speak of the heart and passion each of these boxers share inside the ring. No matter what individual countries or militaries these boxers hail from, they are all brought together under one banner: one that reads, “CISM – Friendship through Sport.”