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Saturday, March 2, 2024
The Observer

BENGAL BOUTS: Loughrey dancing way toward first Bouts title

In the past four years, Galen Loughrey has spent lots of time moving, honing the precision of his lefts and rights, growing into a rhythm and learning to take control of his partner. A lot of it has been done outside of the boxing ring.

Loughrey, the senior president of the boxing club, has also been an active dancer during his time at Notre Dame, both recreationally and as a member of the Ballet Folklorico, which performs every year at events such as Latin Expressions.

"Dancing has been something I've picked up a lot more here at Notre Dame," he said. "I danced before but here it fostered the environment to dance even more. There's a lot more people with that same interest."

Undoubtedly, Loughrey recognizes that his time on the dance floor can profoundly strengthen his work in the boxing room.

"Muhammed Ali, they considered him the best dancer, just because in the boxing ring, a lot of it takes footwork. You can't just stand in the ring and expect to pound down the other guy," Loughrey said. "If you watch some of the greatest boxers, they knew how to dance around the ring."

While naturally inclined to the more harmonic aspects of the sport, Loughrey also felt himself quickly drawn to boxing's more fatiguing sides.

"Physically, it was one of the most grueling things I've ever done. I never expected to do so many pushups, so many situps. My body was tired at the end of the day, but it felt good to be exhausted and be able to be mentally focused on other things," Loughrey said.

Loughrey's boxing career began conventionally enough for a Notre Dame fighter, stemming in large part from an athletic curiosity in the mind of a freshman former athlete. In four years, however, that curiosity has developed itself into a definitive facet of his student life.

"Now, it's become almost like a religion for me, you get up with that expectation, 'oh yeah, I get to go to the boxing room today,'" he said.

Perhaps the biggest draw that room had for Loughrey doesn't even involve the workout or the gloves, but the oth-er people inside. Dating back to his upbringing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Loughrey has always had an affinity for a community based way of life.

"Looking back on everything, I like to have people around me, because I think it's nice to see when people develop and to be able to add something to the development of somebody else," he said.

With this in mind, it comes no surprise that, in addition to his leadership responsibilities for the boxing club, Loughrey also serves as a resident assistant in Dillon Hall. It is there where he can even more comprehensively nurture the environment around him towards a greater community character.

"When I am in my room, I always keep my door open just for [my residents] in case they want to stop by," he said.

Judging strictly by his leadership positions, discipline seems to play a strong role in Loughrey's approach to his day-to-day life. Indeed, he has always tried to use his time well and to make his work as constructive as possible, and since becoming a boxer, that sense has only grown stronger.

"Boxing really forced me to make my time management a lot better," he said. "I couldn't be wasting these minutes just sitting around. I was constantly on my feet moving, and it kept life interesting for me."

However, an interesting life isn't always an easy one, and he points out that his busy schedule sometimes forces him to make sacrifices between two positives.

"I feel real bad for my residents, because sometimes I feel I'm not there as much as I should be. In that sense I feel like I've kind of neglected them," he said.

In all of his work, it is not surprising that he already has some idea of what the Galen Loughrey of 2025 will look like. Loughrey, an ALPP Spanish major, hopes to return to his home in Albuquerque, where he can put the skills that he cultivated in the boxing club and Dillon Hall into a real world application, intending to start a family one day and become a pediatrician in the local community.

"Mostly, I'll go back to the community to return the favor that was given to me," he said. "That's a big draw for me to go back home, to not just take what was given to me and run, but to take what was given to me and give back."

In talking about his experiences as a part of the Notre Dame Boxing club and student body, Loughrey gives the impression of man deeply in touch with the university that has served as his home for the past four years.

"More than anything, Notre Dame has come to mean giving, were all giving something, but I think at Notre Dame you learn how to give even more," he said. "There are so many different ways that you can give, I think that reflects a lot in the community building."

While he may already have ideas of himself as doctor or family man, Loughrey has by no means overlooked his final weeks as a Notre Dame boxer. Through his three previous tournaments, Loughrey has yet to win a Bengal Bouts title, losing in a first-round split decision as a freshman before falling in the semifinals his sophomore and junior year. While he looks forward to competing for a championship this year, Loughrey has already reached his loftiest boxing goals.

"My biggest achievement this year has been to see the amount of people who have stuck through with it and who have done well, especially first year boxers," he said. "It's always a dream to be there at the finals, but more than anything, it's been well worth it."

This year, whether Galen Loughrey the boxer wins or loses in this year's Bengal Bouts, Galen Loughrey the man has already come out of the experience dancing, with his head held deservedly high.