Bengal Bouts mission is not changing despite COVID-19 pandemic

The organization has raised millions of dollars to help children in Bangladesh receive a proper education. This year, the funds mean more.
Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 6:33 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Notre Dame has so many traditions on campus, and one tradition that has taken place for 91 years might not happen this year - Bengal Bouts.

The Notre Dame men’s boxing club has gone through so many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their mission means more this year than most.

“There really is no feeling like walking out into Purcell Pavilion, and seeing all of your dorm buddies screaming at you as you’re walking up to the ring,” Notre Dame boxing club captain Bo Heatherman said.

Bengal Bouts is one of Notre Dame’s long standing traditions. But this year, training for Bengal Bouts is a little different. Heatherman says the Notre Dame men’s boxing club is practicing without contact.

“We do boxing workouts that are tailored to kind of still develop our skill we still want to train guys to be good boxers, without having that element of contact, where we might have a threat of spreading COVID-19,” Heatherman said.

The threat of COVID-19 might also prevent Bengal Bouts from taking place this year - and it’s taking a hit on the program.

“I would say the hardest thing is, is maintaining focus, and for practices maintaining attendance,” Heatherman said. “It’s easy to get guys to come out and work out for two hours when they really feel that they’re building towards something.”

There is still something to builds towards, and that’s raising funds for the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh. The organization has raised millions of dollars to help children in Bangladesh receive a proper education. This year, the funds mean more.

“The main thing we’re hearing about Bangladesh is that they just haven’t gone to school this year,” Heatherman said. “A lot of our money this year hopefully, in addition to paying tuition would go towards PPE and being able to help make schools, a little more safe, so that hopefully some of these village schools can go back and they can get back to some of their studies.”

Heatherman has seen first hand what this means for the children of Bangladesh, and he hopes Bengal Bouts can help them out again this year.

“It really showed how much our involvement has meant to the people over there because they see us as as friends and not just like some random group that they’ve never really met thousands of miles away from campus,” Heatherman said.

As of right now, the Notre Dame men’s boxing club has raised $10,000 of their $100,000 goal for the Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh.

They are accepting donations on their fundraising page. Heatherman says $24 equates to a month of tuition for a child in Bangladesh.

Right now, there is no date scheduled for Bengal Bouts, but if the event is approved by Notre Dame, it will most likely take place in April.

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