White Oak High School’s gymnasium buzzed with excitement as athletes laced up their gloves for the Freedom Fight, Saturday. The event featured 28 fighters from three states, and members of the All-Marine Boxing Team Alumni were in attendance, giving fans the opportunity to meet some of the inductees to the All-Marine Boxing Team Hall of Fame.
One popular attendee drew a crowd of admirers: Leon Spinks. In 1978, after a 15-round split decision, Spinks beat Muhammad Ali to win the undisputed heavyweight championship. The win was monumental for Spinks, as it was only his 8th professional fight – the shortest time in history. Spinks served as a Marine from 1973 to 1976 and was inducted in the All-Marine Boxing Team Hall of Fame at last year’s inaugural event.
Another inductee from last year, Bill Joseph, served as the event’s co-coordinator and a Freedom Fight referee. He explained why the event was special to him.
“As a National Referee and Judge with USA Boxing, meeting (fellow) former Marine and legendary boxing referee, Richard Steele, was a tremendous blessing,” said Joseph. “He took his motivation and discipline from being a Marine into his officiating. The additional highlight was being able to officiate our Marines boxing again. I am hopeful that it will continue strongly and safely henceforth.”
After all the special guests were introduced, the fighting commenced. Match champions for the event were Kimberly Davis, Resfa Latigo, Nicholas Woodruff, Jack Morado, Roderick Peart, Jadven McDowell, Andres Bostic, Angella Huling, Delvin White, Keiondra Jackson, Daniel Zapata-Garduno, Reggie Copeland and Jerimiah Somtherman.
“I love boxing because of the camaraderie,” said Resfa Latigo from Combat Logistics Battalion 2 on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune after winning her fight. “It embodies what we work hard for in the Marine Corps – you know, blood, sweat and tears. Live for the person to the right of us. Boxing is all about grit. It doesn’t matter how powerful, how strong, how tall you are. At the end of the day, if you’ve got heart, you can definitely make it through.”
The excitement didn’t end with the Freedom Fight. Later that evening, All-Marine Boxing Team Alumni held their 2nd annual Induction Ceremony for the All-Marine Boxing Team Hall of Fame at Goettge Memorial Field House.
Source: The Globe