SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Third time's the charm for one Sailor assigned to Pre-commissioning Detachment Anchorage (LPD 23) who was selected to attend the All-Navy Boxing Team's training camp to be held Dec. 18-Jan. 22 in Port Hueneme, Calif.
Yeoman 3rd Class Torryan Benjamin, 27, from Day, Fla. had been trying out since 2008 for an invitation to attend the camp and was informed of his selection during the Boxing Mini-Camp held in the Admiral Prout Field House at Naval Base San Diego Oct. 22-23.
"The smaller camps that invite people to the main camp are a way to get only the best fighters to compete against each other for a spot on the team," Benjamin explained. "That way the final team is simply the best of the best. Getting an invite is still great because it shows me what hard work can do, and this is something I've dedicated my off-time to over the years."
If selected to the All Navy Boxing Team, Benjamin will have a short but rigorous schedule training for such events as the Armed Forces Championship next spring bouncing between the welter and feather weight categories. He said such an opportunity would be a long way from the guy with four brothers and five sisters who in 2007 "decided to walk into a gym with nothing more than what my brother taught me to a hit a bag."
"I don't think of myself as that guy, who is all tough and walks around with an ego," he said. "My brother and I would just mess around so I would know how to defend myself. When I started hitting that bag, people noticed right away and encouraged me to pursue training. I hesitated for a long time but finally decided to bite the bullet and go all out."
Benjamin, who enlisted in the Navy in 2007, finds inspiration in his heroes, champion boxers like Mohamed Ali and Evander Holyfield as well as his family which includes his two-year-old daughter Gabriella.
"They were guys who started off pretty much like I did," he said. "They came in later than most people tend to, which is usually as a young kid, and still made something of themselves. When I train, I keep focused with what they exemplify. I have a good head on my shoulders and even if I don't make it this time, I'll keep pushing so my daughter will have someone to look up to."
Anchorage is the Navy's seventh San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship and is under construction at Huntington Ingalls Industries shipbuilding site in Avondale, near New Orleans, La. The ship is scheduled to be delivered in the spring of 2012, commissioned in the fall of 2012 and homeported in San Diego.