Feb. 9, 2009

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame Men’s Boxing Club will enter its 79th year of competition with the preliminary round of the Bengal Bouts at 5:00 p.m. EST, Sunday (Feb. 15) in the Joyce Center fieldhouse. The preliminary round will feature more than 200 boxers in 12-14 different weight classes.

Started in 1931 by Knute Rockne and Dominic Napolitano, the Bengal Bouts is a long-standing Notre Dame tradition. Each year, thousands of fans come out to support the students in the tournament, the proceeds of which benefit the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh by funding educational initiatives for tribal peoples who make up the poorest one percent of the country. In the summer of 2008, for the first time in the 79 years of the program, Bengal Bouts president Mark Weber traveled to Bangladesh with four other boxers to visit the missions first-hand.

“Our mission is to empower people, through education, to stand toe to toe with poverty and prevail,” says Weber.

“It’s not just about what we can do for them, but rather what we can all do together.”

Several returning champions will step into the ring again this month. Mike Lee (176 pounds) and Dan Rodgers (161 pounds) both will vie for their third titles. Kris Perez (140 pounds) will attempt to make history by becoming one of only a few boxers to ever win four championships.

Of local interest, Joey Leary, a Bengal Bouts finalist in 2007 and a 2005 graduate of South Bend St. Joseph’s High School, once again will be competing after a year off. Patrick Kibbe, a 2005 graduate of Mishawaka Marian High School, will be competing for his third year in this year’s bouts. Also, Caleb Laux, another 2005 Marian High School graduate, will be competing for the first time.

Come support the Notre Dame Men’s Boxing Club and the Holy Cross Missions of Bangladesh in the Joyce Center Field House on these nights:

Preliminaries – Sunday, Feb. 15, 5:00 p.m. EST (two rings)
Quarterfinals – Tuesday, Feb. 17, 6:00 p.m. EST (two rings)
Semifinals – Tuesday, Feb. 24, 6:30 p.m. EST
Finals – Saturday, Feb. 28, 7:00 p.m. EST

For ticket information, call the Notre Dame Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356 or visit www.UND.com/tickets. To find out more about the tournament or how to support the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh, please visit bengalbouts.nd.edu.

— ND —