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The North Bend Eagle


Eckmann still in the ring, just not taking punches

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 10/13/10

Randy Eckmann has been involved in boxing in one aspect or another since the age of seven. In June he was recognized for his refereeing at the National Junior Olympics Boxing Tournament at Camp Lejunene, N.C., in June, receiving the Outstanding Official of the Year award.

“It was a shocker, “Eckmann, 41, said. “It’s a nice little plaque.”

Eckmann started boxing when he joined the Bloomfield Boxing Club. After one year, the coach left and his parents took him to Crofton, 15 miles away, to continue his boxing career. Eckmann continued boxing as an amateur until he was 22, “retiring” with an amateur record of 260 wins and 22 losses. He was twice a national champion, three times the runner-up and made it to the quarter finals four or five times.

In 1988 Eckmann was asked to box in the Olympic trials, but he broke his hand and was unable to attend. In 1990 he lost in the finals of the National Golden Gloves championship. The guy who beat him was an alternate for the 1992 Olympics.

At the Nebraska Golden Gloves tournament in 2005 Eckmann was inducted into the Nebraska Boxing Hall of Fame for his amateur boxing.

He quit boxing in 1990 when he moved to Illinois. Four years later he moved back to Nebraska and thought he’d give boxing another try, fighting another half-dozen times as a amateur.

In 1997 Eckmann started working for Great Plains Communications and once again, started training for boxing. This time he was going to try it as a professional. For the next two years he had three professional fights, winning them all.

Eckmann, his wife Jennifer and son Chance, moved to North Bend in 1999. After which Eckmann has his last two fights in Council Bluffs and South Sioux City and decided to quit.

“It hurt a lot more than it used to,” Eckmann said.

In 2003 Eckmann started officiating and judging for the USA Boxing Association. In a fight following USA Boxing rules there is one referee inside the ring with the fighters and three to five judges on the side doing the scoring.

In Nebraska there may be ten club shows or tournaments (they used to be called “smokers”) a year. There is also regional and national boxing tournaments. The referees and judges are all volunteers. They are not paid to travel to these tournaments but do get their rooms paid for by USA Boxing. Golden Gloves is another boxing franchise following the same rules as USA Boxing, but with different schedules. Eckmann has refereed for Golden Gloves tournaments also.

The 2010 Junior Olympic tournament was Eckmann’s third national tournament; he has traveled twice to Marquette, Michigan, to ref at national tournaments. There are 50 officials at the national tournament covering two boxing rings. The Outstanding Official award is determined on referring and judging merits, as well as behind the scene involvement.

Outside the ring, Eckmann has become involved in the organization of boxing. In 2004 he was elected secretary of Nebraska USA Boxing Association and in 2007, president, an office he continues to hold. While secretary he was the Nebraska Junior Olympic chairman. The organization has 98 adult members, mostly coaches, and range from 350 to 500 youth involved in boxing.

Eckmann’s family supports his boxing involvement. Son Chance, a 2009 graduate of North Bend Central, went with his dad to the gym a few times, but did not show interest. Wife Jennifer was just elected registration chairperson of the Nebraska USA Boxing organization.

“She’s seen me fight professionally,” Eckmann said. “I don’t know if she liked it.”

One of the fun things Eckmann has done as Nebraska Boxing president was to work with the police and firemen unions in Omaha to run “Guns and Hoses” on Sept. 11 where amateur boxers from each group boxed it out. It was a fund raiser with the two unions giving their profit to a charity.

“It was a nice thing,” Eckmann said, “a public thing they do.”

Eckmann said he will continue with his volunteer efforts within boxing.

“If you didn’t enjoy it, you wouldn’t do it,” he said. “I enjoy it, its fun for me.”

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