Imagine living in a world where every afternoon at four o’clock you stepped into a ring that required you to slip punch after punch and counter back with your own. Yes, we all face that figuratively in our lives, a professor puts a wrong grade in the grade book and you have to argue your point until you can prove your positioning on the matter. But in this sense, we’re not talking figuratively. Fists are flying in the Nevada club boxing gym every minute when the clock strikes four. It’s not a sport for the faint of heart or weak-willed. The turnover rate for fighters just in the Nevada boxing gym is outrageous, but Nevada’s 130-pound boxer Dustin Congdon gave some insight on how to stay in the sport for an extended amount of time.
“The trick is you really have to want it,” said Congdon. “You just have to dive on in. People try and take it slow and see if they’re the right fit. But if you’re for it you just have to commit to it every day. That’s kind of the trick dude, day by day.”
The Nevada Boxing team is led by Zack Smith and Dustin Congdon. Both fighters are 2-0 this season, with overall records of 17-6 and 7-3 respectively. Smith and Congdon’s most recent fights happened 2,696 miles away in the Big Apple. The coaching staff and Nevada’s 170-pounder Nate Strother also traveled with the two leaders. Smith and Congdon both came away with a win in New York, while Strother lost by split decision.
“If you ask me he got robbed,” Congdon said, referencing Strother’s fight.
Congdon was awarded the fight of the night after a tough battle against a strong competitor from Cincinnati.
Strother’s most recent fight took place in Seattle, WA, on Jan. 26, where he won his first fight of the season against Nick Worley. Strother’s record sits at 1-2 for the season as the team prepares for its next bouts against Navy.
The main point to take into consideration when it comes to military branches is that they’re bred to fight. They have classes specifically designated for sparring and practicing. But for some reason, Nevada Boxing has an outstanding track record against these schools.
“I’ve knocked out all three military branches,” said Congdon. It’s just another person. I have to go in and worry about myself more than I do my opponent.”
Congdon doesn’t stress too much about who he is fighting. His mantra encompasses refining his game and improving every day. Mentality is the way Congdon defeats his opponents, but Smith attributes it to the way the team trains.
“We just spar every day,” said Smith. Right when we’re done, we beat ourselves up on the bag and then we have to make sure we run or swim when we’re not here. I know other gyms don’t spar every day, but we spar every day.”
On top of that, much of why Nevada Boxing is so successful against its military counterparts may come from the “want” versus “must” argument. With Navy, Army and Air Force, fighting is put into their curriculum. They have to fight every day. With Nevada Boxing, the fighters have the option to show up every day and compete. There’s no one forcing them out of their beds in the morning and making them go to the gym to compete.
Boxers are a rare breed of humans and Nevada has some of the best pound for pound fighters in the nation. Nevada boxing enters the ring against Navy on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. to take on Navy in the Eldorado Casino Ballrooms.