“At its core, the Bouts are about two-hundred or so guys pouring out their blood, sweat, and tears to benefit people half a world away.”
Legendary football coach Knute Rockne first organized boxing at Notre Dame in 1920. In 1931, raising funds for the Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh, truly gave the Bengal Bouts its identity.
Coach Dominic “Nappy” Napolitano ’32 ’33 solidified this identity of service combined with sportsmanship and safety as Director and Coach of the Bengal Bouts for over 50 years. His words, “Strong bodies fight, that weak bodies may be nourished” became the motto of the Bouts.
The past 2 years have borne witness to a different type of Bouts. The pandemic eliminated in-person boxing and oftentimes in-person training. But the student boxers persevered by continuing the training tradition in whatever form allowed and exceeding annual fundraising goals of $100K each year.
The Congregation of Holy Cross has schools, churches, and healthcare facilities throughout Bangladesh, but they focus a large percentage of their efforts on 13 parishes located in the remote rural areas of the country. In these villages, Holy Cross works with the victimized tribal minorities who are among the poorest of the poor. The Church is a beacon of hope for these people and gives them the tools to fight back against poverty and injustice by providing education. The Congregation of Holy Cross runs some of the most prestigious schools in the country and makes the opportunity for education available to everyone.
The funds raised by the Bengal Bouts have built primary and technical schools as well as health care clinics. They have paid for the education of impoverished high school and college students providing young men and women with the skills to support their families now and into the future. Everyday Bengal Bouts is changing the lives of the boxers in the program and their Bengali friends on the other side of the world.