Rich Hidy, Sports Editor
Heavyweight champion Daniel Yi focuses on coming fights
“Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!”
Last year’s heavyweight final was not that epic, but the Bengal Bouts thriller between Mike Broghammer and Daniel Yi may have rivaled the 1973 bout between Foreman and Frazier in excitement.
Recall Rocky IV and the showdown between Drago and Rocky as the 6’9”, 245 pound Broghammer towered over the technically-sound Yi by seven inches. Yi punished Broghammer very early with two right hooks to the face, and Broghammer stayed on the floor of the ring and could not regain his balance.
Forty-five seconds into boxing match, former varsity basketball player Broghammer was knocked out by current senior Yi in Notre Dame’s 83rd annual Bengal Bouts, the largest amateur boxing tournament in the world.
“I honestly had no idea that it was a knockout. I thought [Broghammer] had just fallen and that he would be getting back up. It was pretty surreal,” Yi said. He became a campus legend that day as a three-time tournament champion, and intends to add to his legacy in the spring of 2014.
Yi, an accounting major from California who is also taking drawing and creative writing courses, plays on Sorin’s interhall football team and is an RA in the dorm. Sorin’s football team has advanced to Notre Dame Stadium three times during his career, winning the interhall championship once.
Yi relishes the summer months and fall semester, when he prepares for the grinds of the Bengal Bouts season. He allows fear to keep him on-edge and challenges himself with different forms of fitness. A fighter with the brute force of Broghammer may not challenge Yi this year, but there will no doubt be quite a few worthy challengers when the time comes for his fourth tournament. The Rover staff caught up with Yi as midterms approached during his senior campaign at Notre Dame.
Rover: What was it like to be in the ring with Broghammer right before the bell rang for the start of round one?
Yi: I was pretty nervous, about as nervous as I’ve been before any fight, but I had done a lot of thinking and was pretty convinced I had prepared myself. I’m always very afraid but at the same time, I’m also very confident in my training. It’s an interesting cocktail, but I honestly don’t think I’ll ever feel any other way about it.
What are your typical training days like in the summer and this semester in preparation for Bengal Bouts?
In the summer, I’m usually bulking up and I’m much less concerned about being in peak cardiovascular shape, because for me, it’s much more enjoyable and I’m so far away from the bouts. I still focus on getting all of my mechanics right, and I try to fine-tune them.
Who do you model your fighting style after?
Overall I look up to the greats of boxing and try to take away what I perceive to be their greatest strengths. I try to emulate their qualities to the best of my abilities. I look up to Mike Tyson for his speed and his power, and since he’s always been the smaller guy in his fights. I watched a lot of his fights going into last year’s Bouts.
How much do nutrition and fitness play into preparation for boxing?
Nutrition and fitness are key, but the great thing about being a heavyweight is that I’m not constantly cutting every ounce of fat off of my body. Fitness is very crucial, but more important than fitness is overall comfort in the ring. Boxing is both a physical and psychological battle, and the two are not mutually exclusive.
Do you ever find it difficult to balance school and training?
When it’s Bouts time, there’s almost no focus in the classroom. Unfortunately, Bouts time is just around the midterms period, which is a bummer, because I usually fail all of those tests and end up playing catch-up the rest of the semester. It’s hard not to think about boxing every single minute of the day when I’m going to be competing soon.
What motivates you to be successful in the ring?
What motivates me to be successful in the ring is primarily fear. I’m not exactly sure what I’m afraid of, but for me, there’s a lot on the line. I’m not only fighting for myself. I’m fighting for the club, for the missions and for those I’ve had the opportunity to meet in Bangladesh. My passion for boxing began with my involvement for Bengal Bouts. I fell in love with the mission and all the other aspects of the club.
Do you expect to carry on with boxing into the future?
I plan on taking the sport with me wherever I go. I’ll always be looking to improve, but that’s all on my own. My mother has never been too keen on my participation in the club, and she’d definitely not be happy if I decided to continue to box after my time here at Notre Dame.
Rich Hidy is a sophomore Business major and Journalism minor. He has yet to see any of his favorite teams advance in the playoffs after the Reds lost to the Pirates last week. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.