Mak­ing strides as pro boxing referee

Wal­dorf res­i­dent Bovell has ref­er­eed nearly 2,500 bouts

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

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

vic­to­ri­ously.

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.”

STAFF PHOTO BY TED BLACK

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.

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