ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Midshipmen stream into a stifling gym at the U.S. Naval Academy, eager to watch their classmates as they compete in a boxing ring.
While all midshipmen must participate in boxing as part of their physical education, these young men and women are among the Academy's best.
In one corner, a coach — himself a Marine Corps vet — counsels a boxer, pantomiming moves before sending him into the ring against a classmate. Elsewhere, down a hallway beneath the stands, a woman shadowboxes alone before her bout. Women only began participating in the brigade championship in 2004, despite the event being in its 76th year.
The winners of Friday's bouts are going on to regional competition with hopes of qualifying for the national collegiate boxing championships this spring in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.