Campus club members prepare for Night of Champions boxing match
Students throwing punches at each other is typically frowned upon, but for one night a year, it’s encouraged.
Clubs across Lee's campus will duke it out in the boxing ring at the second annual Night of Champions, where fighters represent their on-campus clubs, in the ring for a good cause.
The Night of Champions, also known as Fight Night, is an official USA Boxing event complete with licensed judges and trained fighters. Money raised by the participating clubs will go towards LUDIC, a state-approved, not-for-profit private school for children with autistic spectrum disorders and other related conditions.
Each fight will have three two-minute rounds to determine the winner. In the interest of safety, fighters only box with those within their weight class.
After a huge turnout at the inaugural event last year, organizers are hoping to build off the momentum and put on another high-energy show this April.
Ralf Santiago of Five Point Boxing in Cleveland is the boxing connection for Lee University. The LeeU Boxing Club has become a liaison between Lee and the boxing world.
“Our role is to train, equip and make the event happen,” Santiago said. “[Fight Night] is one of the best boxing events I’ve hosted. It’s a great way to allow students to see and taste the wonders of battle.”
Fight Night was born from the idea of using boxing to bring the community together, according to Santiago.
Junior intercultural studies major Hannah Hedgepeth joined the Lee Boxing Club last semester and is eager to prove her worth in the ring. This year, she will be the Residential Life and Housing representative.
Hedgepeth explained there’s nothing else quite like Fight Night at Lee, and the novelty of it draws people in.
“It’s that weird part of human nature—wanting to see people fight,” Hedgepeth said. “The first time I boxed, it felt so weird. It was like, ‘I’m hitting you, and you’re hitting me, and we like each other.’”
All participants are required to train at Five Point Boxing prior to the event. In preparation for Fight Night, the fighters started training near the beginning of the semester.
Hedgepeth explained that the training, though challenging, is crucial for proper preparation.
“We do a ton of workouts,” Hedgepeth said. “You never leave and don’t feel sore and tired. You never get bored, and it’s never easy.”
Additionally, every fighter has to have a fighter’s license and sports physical to ensure they are physically able to participate in the fight.
Senior exercise science major Becca Brewer is representing Delta Zeta Tau (DZT) on Fight Night after being inspired by her DZT “big sister” who participated last year.
Brewer explained that the Greek club rivalries add a layer of competition to the night, but her club has offered their unconditional support no matter the outcome of her match.
Brewer plans on preparing for the fight by loading up on food and watching “Rocky” to get in the zone.
Though tensions may be high on the night of the fight, the club fighters have trained together, sweat together and encouraged each other through the whole process.
“Teamwork and individual sports go hand-in-hand,” Santiago said. “Boxing teaches people to listen, execute and fight through adversity. It teaches the will to not quit.”
Months of hard work, fundraising and preparation have gone into this event. Brewer encouraged students to take a night off during finals week and enjoy some old-fashioned gladiator entertainment.
“People should come because we’re putting in the work to make it a good show,” Brewer said.
The event will take place on Friday, April 26, at 6 p.m. in Walker Arena. No ticket purchase is necessary for the event.