The 2014 Ringside World Championships will take place in just a few weeks and anticipation is high for what will be a week-long celebration of amateur boxing. With over 1,500 boxers, six rings and over 1,000 bouts, the sheer size of the tournament makes it a sight to behold. But the competition and associated numbers are but the tip of the iceberg, what the layman sees on the exterior. Although impressive, it’s the rest of the ice, underneath the water, that truly defines the experience like no other.
What most people don’t see is the long, uphill path that was traveled just to get to the tournament, the months of preparation, hard work and sacrifice. The event itself is the end of a specific journey, the mountain top. Competitors will have logged miles of road work and countless rounds in the gym BEFORE they step into the ring to give everything they have, both mentally and physically, for victory.
boxing requires teamwork
What most people don’t see is the teamwork necessary to take part in the event. For most of the competitors, there is at least a two-person team, fighter and coach, who undergo the experience together. Some teams include a whole contingent of boxers and coaches. Regardless of the size, teamwork plays an integral part in the experience before, during and after the tournament. As a team, they push each other during training, support each other during competition and celebrate with each other after a hard fought match.
What most people don’t see are the special relationships formed as a result of participation in the tournament, most of which don’t end at the conclusion of the event but last a lifetime. Boxing is a unique sport with its own exclusive requirements of courage, focus and determination. To be a member of this exclusive group and truly understand the experience, one must be intimately involved in the process. This shared experience serves to strengthen and reinforce these lifelong bonds of mutual respect and friendship.
What most people don’t see is the unyielding support given to the athletes by coaches, teammates, family and friends. This too, starts months before the tournament and carries on long after it has concluded. These supporters are in the boxer’s corner literally and figuratively. Who can deny the steadfast, intimate support given by a coach, as he wraps his fighter’s hands and makes final preparations in a secluded corner of the arena? Who can deny the dedicated, energetic support of the teammates, family and friends, as they root on their fighter during a match, pushing him to the finish line and then offering a congratulatory embrace as he climbs down from the ring?
What most people don’t see is the generous contribution of the officials and ringside physicians, who selflessly donate of their time and money to administer the tournament. They perform this sometimes unforgiving task not for personal gain but for a simple love of the sport and the athletes that participate in it.
What most people don’t see are the reunions. For many, the tournament is an opportunity to reunite with old friends and past competitors, a time to retell old stories and catch-up on the new ones, a time to simply share time together. Not to mention the new friendships forged through competition and a shared goal.
More than a boxing tournament
The 2014 Ringside World Championships is much more than a boxing tournament. It’s an opportunity to showcase the best in all of us, to promote all the positive attributes that make-up our great sport. We hope you will be there to share in the experience. Click here for more information on the 2014 Ringside World Championships.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Albert is a retired boxer and long time Ringside team member. He was a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team (Atlanta, GA) and former member of USA Boxing’s Board of Directors. Albert is a three time USA Boxing National Champion, as well as the 1992 National P.A.L. Champion. He also medaled in the 1993 World Championships, 1994 Goodwill Games and 1995 Pan-American Games. Albert continues to share his extensive boxing knowledge by coaching, blogging and assisting with tournament administration at events supported by Ringside.