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Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024
The Observer

‘It makes us all better’: Lenny Calvo speaks on the brotherhood, family ties that inspire him in Bengal Bouts

Lenny “Typhoon” Calvo, a junior captain of Bengal Bouts, immediately broke into a smile when asked what Bengal Bouts means to him. 

“It's the highlight of my Notre Dame experience,” he said. “It's the culmination of months, if not years by this point of hard work [and] dedication — not just the physical aspect, the training, the boxing itself, but also for the fundraising and the difference that we make in the Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh.”

Calvo says the charity work makes the club that much more meaningful. 

“When we hear the testimonies from people that are actually helped by our missions, it’s almost unbelievable that the work that we do here can make such a big difference in the lives of people half a world away,” he said. “But hearing about their struggles, it really still touches us on the human level.”

Junior captain Lenny "Typhoon" Calvo, left, sizes up his opponent during the semifinal round of Bengal Bouts at the Dahnke Ballroom on Feb. 26, 2019.
Junior captain Lenny "Typhoon" Calvo, left, sizes up his opponent during the semifinal round of Bengal Bouts at the Dahnke Ballroom on Feb. 26, 2019.

When Calvo was asked about his inspiration to continue through the rigorous training Bengal Bouts requires, he immediately spoke to the former captains of Bengal Bouts and how he admired them. He hopes to continue their legacy within the club. 

Calvo is inspired by the former captains of Bengal Bouts, who showed him the hard work required in handling the team’s rigorous training. He hopes to continue their legacy within the club. 

“When I think about [the former captains] and what they’ve accomplished and how hard they’ve worked ... when they were a part of this club, it inspires me to strive ... to reach that level and to give just as much, if not more to this club,” Calvo said.

Being a mentor to the younger generation of boxers as a captain of Bengal Bouts means a lot to Calvo.

“It’s really special,” he said. “... Seeing the captains when I was a freshman and now reaching that position, it’s kind of surreal. It’s something that I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.”

Calvo hails from the island of Guam, an area stricken by typhoons, and he wanted to pay tribute to that in his nickname. However, there is another meaning to the nickname as well.

Calvo is related to the former professional boxer Stan “Hurricane” Harrington, a middleweight boxer who fought mainly in Hawaii. Harrington beat famed boxer Sugar Ray Robinson twice towards the end of Robinson’s career. 

“I never met him, he died before I was born,” Calvo said. “But that’s just another source of inspiration for me now. I wanted to pay some homage to that.” 

Calvo has also taken away lifelong friendships from Bengal Bouts, which he believes comes “with a switch.”

“When you’re in the ring, you’re serious, you’re focused, it’s boxing,” Calvo said. “It’s still a combat sport. But we understand that with all the rounds of sparring and all the rounds of the bouts, it makes us all better. It helps improve our skill [not only] as boxers but also our heart. We learn new things about ourselves in the ring. In helping each other by being sparring partners and being training partners, we develop that bond that’s almost like brothers.”

In addition to personal connections, Calvo has ultimately learned about himself through the rigorous sport of boxing.

“For example, in the really tough bouts, the ability to just grit my teeth, be disciplined and finish the fight, even if it’s a really tough one, even if you might not want to go all the rounds because it’s just so hard, it’s just so difficult ... finishing it, whether you get your hand raised or not — that’s just a huge lesson that you’ve learned about yourself that you can go that far — that you can do what you did,” Calvo said.