After a reign of 20 years, Friday evening, February 3, 2012, the U. S. Marine Corps Boxing Team knocked the U. S. Army Boxing Team off their mighty perch. “A day that will live in infamy,” said one disappointed soldier.
Before the start of the final bout at tonight’s All Armed Forces Boxing Championships being held at the Paige Fieldhouse on Camp Pendleton’s Mainside in Oceanside, CA, the U. S. Marine Corps Boxing Team had 10 points. Their closest rival, the U. S. Army Boxing Team, had eight. This meant the final match between Army Sergeant Marvin Carey and Marine Sergeant Dejesus Gardner, with its valuable three points, would decide which team became this year’s All Armed Forces Boxing Team Champions.
The deciding bout almost ended before it got started. In round one, Carey caught Gardner with a beauty of an overhand right to give Gardner a shiner (a black eye or good size mouse) right above the left eye. This mouse swelled to the point where Gardner had restricted vision. The referee called for an immediate stoppage to have the fight doctor look at the swelling. After the fight doctor gave his okay, the audience, the majority being Marine Corps partisans, cheered.
The crowd’s fervor escalated as the contest became one of these back and forth struggles of will. In the third round Gardner and Carey traded their best punches of the bout. In the final 20 seconds of the fight, Gardner managed to edge out his opponent by the slimmest of margins, a 14-13 win.
After the bout Gardner spoke of his hotly contested bout, “I told my daughter that daddy would bring her a gold medal, and daddy doesn’t break promises.”
The other pivotal matches which turned the tide in the Marine Corps’ favor: In a rematch from 2011′s Championships, Marine Corporal Tommy Roque redeemed himself against Army Sergeant Toribio Ramirez, pummeling his way to a 35-19 win. Roque was masterful as he put on a boxing clinic.
Then came Marine Lance Corporal Johnathan Steel’s win over the Navy’s AD2 Carlos Moore. In that match Moore, who is an outstanding puncher, brawler, slipped on the apron and badly sprained his ankle. The injury, which limited his movement, forced him into early retirement.
The third crucial match had Marine Sergeant Jamel Herring defending his 2011 Armed Forces title against Senior Airman Adam Hassan of the Air Force. The defending National Champion banged his way to a one-sided 19-5 victory in the 141lb. weight class. His victory was more or less expected.
The Marines also received help from both the Navy’s IT2 Nicole Saunders who defeated Army SPC Dianeya Nodarse in Bout #5 and the victory by 2011 Pal Champion, SRA Kent Brinson of the U. S. Air Force who literally stood toe to toe to beat Army Sergeant Charles Blackwell.