Meet Joseph Orosco. He’s a sophomore at Trinity with majors in Urban Studies and Mechanical Engineering. Joe is an active member of the Fred, and he works in the career development office. He’s a member of Quest, the Association of Energy Engineers, and inner-varsity. He practices jujitsu. Lately, however, Joe has been spending a lot of his time boxing – and he’s good at it. Just this past March, Joe won three matches to take first place at regional championships and will be representing Trinity Club Boxing at nationals.
They’ll take place in Lawrenceburg, Indiana next weekend, but Joe didn’t just traipse his way in there. Getting to nationals was no small feat; he won the title of eastern champion after beating three of the top six fighters in his weight class of 156 lbs. In fact, his performance was so incredible that he was also awarded an Outstanding Boxer Award that was voted on by judges observing the regional tournament.
One would imagine that to be this good at boxing he must’ve started as a child, but Joe’s first time in the ring didn’t come until he got to Trinity. “I wanted to box as a kid,” he said. “But we never had the money.” When arriving at Trinity the fall of his freshman year, he saw there was a boxing club and jumped at the opportunity. The program and the coaches all helped his natural ability flourish. It wasn’t long before he was competing. “Coach just threw me to the wolves,” Joe said, reminiscing on his first match.
Of course his mentality has changed now, a year later with some practices and techniques under his belt. “I have confidence in myself now and my ability,” he said. “I know what I need to do.” This confidence stems from the excellence of the Club Boxing program here at Trinity, and the great coaches and fellow students Joe found there.
That includes captain of the boxing team, Josephine Tannuzzo, who said of the club, “We’re all really close and supportive. It’s maybe not something you would expect, especially if you’re not used to a boxing environment, but it really is a nurturing environment. Everyone is such a good sport.” Tannuzzo, being a junior and captain, has been around long enough to really see the program transform.
“We started in the wrestling room with not great equipment,” she said. Now, the club’s Facebook page proudly shows off its official registration with the National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) program “that is insured and sanctioned by USA Boxing Inc. and is able to compete in all USA Boxing and NCBA events.” The club is also partnered with Charter Oak Boxing Academy or COBA, a non-profit started by one of the boxing coaches, Johnny Callas. Working with COBA, Trinity Boxing Club is able to really get into the community as they mentor and box with Hartford kids. They’re now about to practice in Hartford’s PAL center.
The three coaches, Callas, Cuts, and Chief Ford, have also added a lot to the program aside from its affiliation with COBA. For Josephine they’re part of the glue that holds the team together. She spoke to the way they get everyone together, saying, “Even when Chief Ford runs a really hard practice, it’s all together. Like, we’re all in this together guys!” In their few years with the program, it’s already changed so much. For Joe, he owes just about everything he knows about boxing to them. After all, he’s only been boxing for less than two years and he’s already on the road to nationals.
The club sport environment was also perfect for Joe’s already busy schedule. As a member of so many different teams and associations, not to mention a double major, Joe was attracted the way club sport participants can make what they want out of the program. “It definitely requires a lot of work for you to get better,” Joe said. “But the practice schedule is not too demanding.” He’s able to get into the gym when he needs to, a great quality of the program especially for someone who might need to miss a practice here and there.
That isn’t to say being a competitive club boxer is any small commitment. “Club sports definitely don’t get enough credit,” Joe says. “We have lots of competitions. Sometimes we’re gone every weekend.” Anyone is able to join the club, but the coaching staff won’t let you compete unless you’re ready. As someone new to boxing, Joe had to work hard to get into the ring. It was all worth it.
The Club Boxing team is one of Trinity’s 21 active club sports teams. Unlike some of the varsity sports teams here on campus, Club Boxing is a team that meets year round for practice and competition on the weekends. In the fall are invitational meets. If athletes do well they can qualify for regionals in March. From there a select few athletes, like Joe, qualify for nationals.
Luckily for him, he’s also going to have some familiar faces there looking out for him. “I’m from California, but I just found out my family will be coming to see me in Indiana,” Joe said with a smile. He claims his mom isn’t even that nervous to see him compete. “She told me I’m a man now. She thinks I’m old enough to make my own decisions.”
Joe has been preparing for nationals since his regional victories, but he hasn’t got much longer to wait. Soon he’ll be headed to Lawrenceburg with his good-luck charm that was shared somewhat bashfully, saying, “Usually I wear my superman socks.” Fitting, as he’s certainly been a superhero for Trinity’s Club Boxing program.
Nationals begin next week and go from April 6th to April 8th. Tickets for Quarterfinals and Semifinals finals are free, and tickets for Finals are on sale now.
Written by Emily Llerena '18