Boxing and the Bengal Bouts

An excerpt from chapter 22:

"What could possibly link a small college in the Midwest to Bangladesh, an impoverished country on the other side of the world? With so many worthy causes, why choose this one for the men’s boxing club? Upon reflection, the answer would prove obvious. In the mid-nineteenth century, it was determined that missions were needed in this region. The Holy Cross Order was selected to carry forth the word of the Lord to the Indian province of East Bengal. At the time, Dacca, the capital, was replete with mosques of Mohammed and temples of the goddess, Kali.

 Only nine years earlier, in 1842, the fathers of Holy Cross had founded another needed institution in a wilderness, Notre Dame du Lac. The Order determined, from its headquarters in Le Mans, France, that Notre Dame would train and send missionaries from its student body to Dacca. While these early plans never materialized, the bonds between the University and the missions were formed and grew through the years. In 1933, Sr. Rose Bernard of Saint Marys College founded the first native sisterhood in Dacca, the Associates of Mary Immaculate, to work alongside the Holy Cross missionaries. During the 1907-1908 academic year, the Most Rev. Timothy Crowley, C.S.C., D.D., voluntarily resigned from his professorship of English literature at Notre Dame to work at the Mission Headquarters in Dacca, setting a personal example of devotion to the Lord’s work.


Over time, boxing’s popularity was rapidly growing on campus. In part this was due to the exceptional coverage it received. In 1933 and 1934, it was the only non-varsity sport covered in the Dome. The Scholastic sponsored  the campus tournament, and peppered its weekly columns with features on individual boxers, often accompanied by photographs. The Scholastic arranged the bouts, or Show as it was often called, and paid for the expenses and trophies out of gate receipts. Any profits would go toward the Bengal Missions."