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Around The Fleet

Punching Back

Sailor shaped by service, boxing applies mindset of fighter to life

When asked who he is, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Benjamin Dobbs uses two words: Sailor and fighter.

Dobbs wears two hats year-round. He is a U.S. Navy Sailor of nine years and a professional boxer. But Dobbs doesn't separate the two; he believes they are intertwined and he wouldn't be one without the other. Service and boxing make him the man he is.

While growing up in Indianapolis, a young Dobbs was immersed into a boxing culture. He always jokes about how big of a Mike Tyson fan his mom was. He would come home to fight parties where his friends and family would get the fight on pay-per-view and watch the fights.

Then, one day, an encounter he wasn't prepared for turned Dobbs from fan to boxer.

His parents owned a local convenience store, and Dobbs was working the counter the day it was robbed.

"As soon as I turned my back, they just hopped straight over the counter and started clearing out the register," Dobbs said. "I had the knife on my neck before I knew it."
Photo collage of MC2 Dobbs training.

Dobbs said the toughest thing to deal with was that the robber specifically chose him and saw vulnerability in him. That just didn't sit right with him.

So Dobbs, looking for a positive outlet to channel his anger and energy, jumped at the chance to meet with a boxing trainer.

He kept his story to himself, but Dobbs was able to direct his newfound passion into something he already loved and he became committed to the sport of boxing.

His first boxing match was in February 2004 in Anderson, Indiana, and that was just the start.

I remember pulling up to the gym and seeing my opponent outside. Now I have eager anticipation. I want to perform for the crowd and display bravery and skill." - Benjamin Dobbs

A couple of years later, his boxing career well underway, Dobbs saw one of his friends in an "All Navy Boxing" shirt.

"That was all I needed to know," Dobbs said of the All Navy Boxing program. "When I knew my lifestyle could be incorporated into Navy life, I had heard all I needed to hear."

Dobbs quickly sought out a recruiter and began his Navy career, October 30, 2007, at the age of 26. His boxing career continued right along with it.

Dobbs even credits much of his success in boxing to his military experience.

"Before I joined the Navy, I was a .500 fighter." Dobbs said. "After joining the military, I was able to enter another mode and once the fight actually came around, I was ready to take care of business."

Dobbs said the Navy's culture of success also helped his fighting career.
Photo collage of MC2 Dobbs in a boxing match.

"The expectation is always success." Dobbs laughed, adding that whether it's a room inspection or a serious objective, success is expected. "But the expectation is that you are on top of your game and you are successful, so I definitely think that carries over into the ring."

Currently the 122nd ranked cruiserweight boxer in the nation, Dobbs insists that his journey is only beginning and he wants to take it to its highest height.

"When I see 122, I know I want to climb higher and higher. I have every right to dream so that is what I'm going to do ... dream and work."

Dobbs, now 36, acknowledges that his boxing window won't be open forever, however. He's focused on what he has to do now.

"I just want to motivate. I'm trying to carve out my place in history doing the sport I love. I've had obstacles to overcome, and yet I want to accomplish much more. I want the Navy to embrace and promote a culture of fitness, motivation and excellence ... and I want to play a part in that."

When Benjamin Dobbs gets punched, whether it be in the ring or in life, he punches back.
Photo of MC2 Dobbs in a boxing match.