In the Oct. 23, 1931 issue, Scholastic announced that Notre Dame would be sponsoring a “minor sports program.” Boxing, handball, wrestling, indoor and outdoor swimming and playground ball would be given their own tournaments. As the most popular tournament, boxing soon became its own fixture on campus. The annual boxing tournament known as the Bengal Bouts was born. Athletics aside, the event’s primary focus was to raise money to provide education and healthcare to the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh.
Dominic J. “Nappy” Napolitano, director and coach of the Bouts from the 1930s to the 1980s, once said, “Strong bodies fight, that weak bodies may be nourished.” This quote quickly became the motto of the ever-growing
tournament and one that all Bengal Bouts competitors work to exemplify. In the Feb. 18, 1999 issue of Scholastic, writers Josh Kirley and Patrick Downes wrote, “You don’t have to know a boxer or even understand the basic rules of the sport to enjoy this year’s tournament ... Just come out ready to see a lot of action and a lot of heart.” This statement still holds true two decades later in the 89th year of the annual tournament.
The finals for this year’s tournament are March 1 in the Purcell Pavilion. Anyone, fan of boxing or not, can witness this campus legacy in action.