Feb. 19, 2001
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame Bengal Bouts captains are busy preparing a field of 150 boxers for the upcoming 71st Annual Bengal Mission Bouts. Led by co-presidents Josh Thompson (senior from Granger, Ind.) and Brian Hobbins (senior from Edina, Minn.) the boxing club is diligently working toward its charity tournament -- one of the most exciting events on the Notre Dame campus.
Thompson's finance major is being well applied to book-keeping and account-balancing for the team when he is not working toward his first championship after a narrow loss in 2000 to three-time champ Tom Biolchini, one of last year's senior captains.
Hobbins acts as club journalist, a natural fit for the American Studies major. A sound beating by junior captain Rob Joyce (Erie, Pa.) in last year's finals has left him hungry for his first title as well.
Southpaw sensation Dennis Abdelnour (senior from St. Clair Springs, Mich.) has been putting the squad through sweat-pouring workouts. As a mechanical engineering student, Abdelnour knows the value of a good work ethic, it is his discipline that led him to a showdown with last year's team president, J.R. Mellin, in the Bengal finals.
Three-time champion Peter Ryan (senior from Muskegon, Mich.) has acted as a team captain for two years. When he is not defying the laws of physics with ring maneuvering and lightning-quick punches, Ryan studies law in preparation for post-graduate work toward a juris doctorate. Ryan went through a less-friendly encounter with law school in last year's heavyweight final, edging law student and former Harvard football lineman Dan Adam.
Junior captain Rob Joyce (Erie, Pa.) survived Notre Dame football team walk-on tryouts before leaving to pursue his first Bengal Bout title last year. Joyce enjoyed success in his 170-pound weight class as well as Notre Dame's Bookstore Basketball tournament last spring. A recent marathoner, Joyce keeps the team in shape with his athletic talents.
Hometown favorite Mark Criniti (junior from Granger, Ind.) joins Joyce as a junior captain by way of Keough Hall. Criniti's southpaw battle with Joey Leniski of Mishawaka was one of the most exciting bouts of last championship night. When Criniti isn't jabbing between the ropes, he is strumming the string of his guitar with his band Funk Harmony Park, which is a favorite of local music aficionados.
Keough classmate Matt Fumagalli (junior from Joliet, Ill.) rounds out the list of junior captains. The finance major is not only the team ad man and bill collector, but also the resident funny man. While his jokes are plenty to laugh at, "Fumo" has other reasons to smile -- he will be defending the title he won over Camilo Rueda (senior from Fairfax, Va.) in last year's tournament.
The captains of the 71st Annual Bengal Bouts cordially invite you to the tournament to be held Feb. 22, 26, and 28, 2001, at 7:30 p.m. EST. Finals action can be seen March 2, 2001 at 8:30 p.m. EST All bouts will take place at the Joyce Center on the Notre Dame campus. Tickets are available through the Notre Dame Joyce Center ticket office at 219-631-7356.
For more information contact Josh Thompson at 219-243-1542 or Brian Hobbins at 219-288-4329.