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Volume 5, Number 29
10 May 1999

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Bilkent Teams Bring Home the Gold
New Boxing Team Leaves Opponents on the Ropes; Wins Two Seconds, Two Thirds in First Competition

Top row, from left: Sports Center Director Dr. Hayri Özkan, Coach Feyzullah Aydaş, Serhan Hakgüdener, Assistant Sports Center Director Alper Uğraş.
Bottom, from left: Kazım Maviş, Çağlar Bocutoğlu, Fatih Gülseren.

Some had been training for just one semester; all were just beginning to master the skills of boxing. None expected a big victory when they recently headed out to Eşkişehir for their first competition, a competition that featured the best boxers from eight Turkish universities and sports academies. But they were wrong.

Against all odds, Bilkent's new boxing team came back from its first outing with two second place individual medals, two third place individual medals, and a fifth place finish in a field of eight teams despite the fact that Bilkent entered boxers in only four of 13 weight categories. "The other universities are very surprised about Bilkent," said Kazım Maviş, who took second place in the 75 kg. weight class. "Now they know we are serious competition."

Kazım and fellow team member Çağlar Bocutoğlu, who won third place in the 81 kg category, have been training for three semesters. The rest of the team - Fatih Gülseren, who took second at 60 kg., and Serhan Hakgüdener, who took third at 63.5 kg. - has been training for only one semester.

Stepping into the ring for the first time is an experience the team members will never forget - it provoked a range of emotions. "My heart was beating fast," said Kazım. "Fear, that's what I felt," said Fatih. "But I was confident about myself and I was not afraid of losing." It took only a short time to calm down and get to work, though. "After maybe 10 seconds, I was comfortable," said Çağlar. "We were in good physical condition. We were ready," Çağlar said. "Our coach, Feyzullah Aydaş, is a very experienced boxer."

The competition gave the boxers an opportunity to test their conditioning, speed, and tactics. Under the tournament rules, knockouts counted for nothing and, in fact, referees stopped matches if the punching got too rough. All boxers wore protective headgear and other special equipment. In amateur boxing, the point of the match is to score as many "touches" on your opponent as possible.

In Coach Aydaş' opinion, it was the boxers' knowledge of tactics that won the day. "Their physical conditioning was very good, but as Bilkent students they make very intelligent boxers," he said. With the summer break almost upon us, Aydaş' next goal is recruiting some lighter weight boxers to fill out the team. And the team members? As Fatih put it: "This is all the encouragement we need to keep on boxing."

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