Army senior Terrell Anthony always fielded questions about his boxing future with a variation of the same answer. His head gear is staying on, a reference to Anthony’s disinterest in pursuing a pro career.
But for the first time since his exceptional career began as a freshman, Anthony is considering boxing after graduation. Could the head gear one day come off? “I’ve thought about it, yeah,” Anthony said. How could he not? Anthony will flash that pro potential by trying to win his third straight title in the National Collegiate Boxing Association championships Thursday-Saturday at Eisenhower Hall, West Point.
Anthony, a 139-pounder, has steadily progressed since pushing aside basketball, his first love, after playing at the United States Military Academy Prep School. Until he arrived at West Point, Anthony’s boxing experience was confined to choosing the sport for his 100-hour senior project in high school.
But his success has left Anthony thinking about trying to qualify for Army’s World Class Athlete Program, which helps Army athletes train seriously in their chosen sport after graduation. Among WCAP’s goals is pointing athletes toward the Olympics.
“I am a religious person, and I believe if God wants me to do it, I will wake up one morning and say, ‘You know, I’m going to do it,'” Anthony said.
He’s hardly the only Army boxer with big-time potential. Coach Ray Barone has built a pugilistic powerhouse as Army goes for its fourth straight national title. The Black Knights are coming off their best regionals showing ever, winning nine titles and placing second in the other three weight classes. Penn State, Maryland, Navy and Air Force are among the schools trying to deny Army’s four-peat.
“Going into regionals, the guys gave up their spring breaks to stay at West Point for two-a-days,” Barone said. “I guess it paid off.”
“I’ve never seen some of the guys fight like that,” Anthony said. “Everyone works so hard in the gym that nobody wants to disappoint the guy beside him.”
Danilo Garcia is chasing his fourth straight national title at 125 pounds. Steve Henao-Escobar, also a senior, won the 147-pound title last year after finishing second the previous two years.
“This is probably the best group of leaders that the team has ever had,” Barone said of his upperclassmen. “They are the first in the gym, the last to leave and are always assisting and encouraging younger boxers.”