An international lineup of top military boxers is to be hosted by the Royal Bermuda Regiment later this month. Bermuda’s soldiers and local talent will take on airmen from the UK’s Royal Air Force, soldiers from the Jamaica Defence Force and officer cadets from the US Naval Academy in Maryland in two separate events.
Battalion Boxing 2017 is led by the RBR’s Major Ben Beasley, an officer in the RAF before he returned home and joined the Regiment.
Maj. Beasley said: “We were offered a unique opportunity when I was contacted by a friend in the RAF. Their boxing team has worked hard and produced great results in the UK and as a reward they are being sent out to Bermuda to conduct their annual training camp.
“I put the proposal to the Commanding Officer – Lieutenant Colonel David Curley – who recognised the benefits and he gave it his full backing.”
Maj. Beasley added he had worked with Nathan Dill, president of the Bermuda Boxing Federation, to organise the event.
He said: “Nathan is passionate about the sport, and we are putting together some super events. Making sure local athletes have the opportunity to box was a high priority for both of us, and we will have six locals, including a few of our own soldiers.”
Maj. Beasley added: “We didn’t, however, at first appreciate the experience that the RAF is bringing – they have records of up to 60 bouts.
“To match their experience, we made some calls to our friends in the Jamaica Defence Force and the US Naval Academy to bring in some talent. The Regiment has worked hard over the years to cement our good reputation overseas – and our colleagues were eager to participate.”
The tournaments will also include mixed martial arts fighters from Bermuda Combat Club, owned by firefighter and former RBR officer Mark Prior.
Maj. Beasley said: “Mixed martial arts command huge interest and will certainly add an extra spark to the evening. Mark has experience in several forms of combat sport and has kindly allowed the JDF soldiers to use his gym on Reid Street for training while they are here.”
And he praised local boxing gyms and fighters for their decision to take on more experienced boxers from overseas.
The first night – the Regimental Rumble - will take place on the RBR’s Warwick Camp parade square on Thursday, September 14. The second – dubbed Armed Conflict - will be held at the Berkeley Institute gym in Pembroke on Saturday, September 16.
Maj. Beasley said more than 20 boxers drawn from the four participating armed forces will take part in two nights of “probably the best line up of amateur boxing in Bermuda.”
The September 14 event will have limited tickets, and the RBR wants to attract other uniformed services like the Bermuda Police Service, the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service, HM Customs and prison officers. The Saturday fight night will have more seating and guests are invited to attend in black tie – a traditional element of military boxing which was carried on by the Bermuda Police for many years.
Maj. Beasley said: “We will also use this visit to take part in some international training and learn from each other.
“It’s also a great opportunity to use the reach and resources of the Regiment to not only engage with and entertain the public we serve, but to show them some of the benefits of service in the RBR as well. We hope it will attract recruits.”
Regimental Sergeant Major Alvin Harvey added the tournament would include the RBR’s own Andre Lambe, who hopes to represent the island in the next Commonwealth Games and Olympics.
RSM Harvey said” “Fight nights have a great atmosphere. Over the years I have had a lot of experience with fight nights and we see this as a great event that we hope we can carry on in subsequent years.”
Tickets for both events are available at ptix.bm/boxing or from the RBR HQ at Warwick Camp.