Making strides as pro boxing referee
Waldorf resident Bovell has refereed nearly 2,500 bouts
After beginning his career in the boxing ring wearing a pair of gloves briefly, Waldorf resident Brent Bovell is gradually enhancing his reputation in the ring as one of the sport’s top rising professional boxing referees.
Bovell, 52, admitted his introduction into the sport of prize fighting was as a boxer where he fought briefly as an amateur, but since then he has traded in his boxing gloves and trunks for the standard attire of a boxing referee where he has already had over 2,200 amateur bouts and over 150 professional fights in a career that began 14 years ago.
“I’ve always loved the sport and becoming a referee was almost a natural for me,” said Bovell, who worked two professional fights at Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George’s County on Saturday night. “I’ve learned a lot by watching the best referees work and I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym at Old School Boxing working with fighters during their sparring matches.”
Bovell, who works fulltime with the City of Alexandria, Virginia and is less than two years from reaching his retirement target date of 30 years with the city, has rapidly climbed the ladder among boxing referees and already begun to make a name for himself in the professional ranks. He has mainly refereed bouts close to home at Rosecroft, the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro and Duburns Arena in Baltimore, but he has already made one memorable trip halfway around the world.
“About five years ago, I was invited to take part in an International Boxing tournament in Sugrut, Russia,” Bovell recalled, referring to a city of 350,000 people in Siberia whose population has been steadily rising. “There were 10 male boxers, three female boxers, two coaches and one official from the United States that went over and that official was me.”
Bovell worked nearly a dozen fights in Sugrut during the week-long tournament and gradually gained acceptance from the international gathering of boxers, referees and residents. During the week, he realized that his performance would have long-lasting effects, not
so much personally but professionally.
“I was there to represent my country and I was determined to do the best job that I could in the ring to make sure that boxing fans there had respect for the United States,” Bovell said. “The U.S. only sent one ref, so I wanted to make sure that the Russians and Ukrainians knew that we took boxing seriously over here. I was very proud to represent the U.S. over there and by the end of the week even fans over there were shaking my hands.”
His career thus far eerily mirrors that of Waldorf native and Westlake High School graduate Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed, who has won all 22 of his professional boxing fights and is currently ranked sixth by the World Boxing Organization among super lightweights (140 pounds). Reed, who coincidentally garnered his first win as a professional at Rosecroft four years ago, has been impressed with Bovell’s rise among boxing referees.
“I started boxing in the amateur fights about 14 years ago and that’s when he started becoming a ref,” Bovell said. “He used to come and train with us at Old School Boxing and did
that for seven years until my dad [Michael Pinson] started Dream Team Boxing. He’s almost invisible when he’s in the ring. That’s what makes a great referee. If you don’t notice them, they’re doing a good job.”
On Saturday night at Rosecroft, Bovell’s first fight was between Prince George’s County resident Malik Loften, who trains with Reed, and Jemour Edwards from Florida. Loften finally got the better of Edwards in the fourth round and Bovell stepped in to stop the fight at 2 minutes 31 seconds of the final round, enabling Loften to begin his professional boxing career on a winning note at the same site where Reed had debuted
Bovell would later work the main event and Mykal “The Professor” Fox remained undefeated with a unanimous decision victory over Daniel Sostre in an eight-round bout. One month earlier, Bovell worked two fights at the MGM National Harbor on a night when Reed made his seasonal debut with a 10-round unanimous decision victory over Reyes Sanchez.
Bovell did not work Reed’s fight that evening, but he did gain the distinction as being the referee for the very first fight that venue would ever hold when Lobia Breedy defeated Wilfredo Garriga via unanimous decision. Bovell also
worked the main event later on the card when Prince George’s County product Antonio Russell defeated Jovany Fuentes by third-round technical knockout.
“That was an important milestone event for me,” Bovell said. “To be able to say that I worked the very first fight at the MGM National Harbor boxing arena really meant a lot to me. For a Waldorf resident and Prince George’s County native to have worked that first fight was really a special moment for me. That venue is really, really nice. It holds over 3,000 spectators and there are cameras at every corner of the ring. It’s really top rate.”
Waldorf resident and boxing referee Brent Bovell, right, raises the left arm of triumphant boxer Malik Loften, who won his first professional bout by TKO in the fourth round on Saturday night in a card on the top floor of the clubhouse dining room at Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George’s County.