FORT BLISS, Texas -- Boxing is like a game of chess, one fighter maneuvering another across the ring, throwing punches instead of moving pieces, toward an outcome which is fluid, relying on their technique and strategy to be better than their adversary. And, as one Soldier explained after his match, "you'd better be ready to take a hit."

Big hits and quick feet were on full display during the Fort Bliss and El Paso Golden Gloves "Border Rumble" Feb. 10. For more than four hours, the free event featured amateur and seasoned boxers squaring off in the center ring.

"The appeal of boxing is quite simply seeing two people going head-to-head," said Aaron Jones, Fort Bliss Sports Director. "I think it's human nature to be engaged when seeing a battle of wills between two people."

The majority of the bouts in the semi-annual event are for amateur boxers, those with five fights or less. It is open to male and female fighters. "This event represents an opportunity for Soldiers to try something new with limited risk of injury, and also to let loose in a controlled environment," said Jones.

The interest within Fort Bliss for boxing was huge. The event featured twenty amateur bouts, drawing fighters from many different Fort Bliss units. It also appealed to spectators, with families and unit members loudly applauding the boxers' efforts, some carrying hand-made signs.

Pvt. Andrew Turnbull, a structural repair specialist for B Company, 127th Aviation Support Battalion, drew a large crowd of fellow Soldiers. "I love boxing, I love the competition, and I am really excited my unit is here. They're great," he said. The Southfield, Conn., native prevailed in his bout, easily finishing off his opponent in the second round.

Turnbull, who is new to the Army with just nine months of service, has been interested in boxing for a long time and was excited Fort Bliss hosted this event. "I hope Fort Bliss has more of these. I'd definitely participate."

As the night progressed, the matches began to feature fighters from different El Paso fighting clubs and also boxers from the Fort Bliss Boxing Team. Pfc. Chasity Funseth, an intelligence analyst for Intel and Sustainment Company, 1st Armored Division, is a boxer preparing for national championships.

"This event is awesome! I'm looking forward to fighting in front of my hometown crowd, the Army. And my opponent is a really good boxer," said Funseth, an Ottisville, Mich., native. Funseth devotes three hours daily to boxing training, and has participated in more than thirty fights. "Right now my ultimate goal is to earn a spot on Team USA and represent my country in the Pan-American Games."

Funseth's opponent, Ayanna Vasquez, from the Las Cruces Police Athletic League, proved to be a fierce, accurate striker, landing a volley of punches to Funseth's face and head. Funseth stayed with the match, landing many of her own punches, but ultimately, came up short. Fighting matches, win or lose, is the key to success down the road, she said.

"The biggest thing about boxing is to take your downs and ups from the fight into the gym and learn to get better," said Funseth.

For more information about Fort Bliss sports, visit the Fort Bliss Morale, Welfare & Recreation website at www.blissmwr.com.

Page last updated Mon February 13th, 2012 at 00:00