By Kim Staudinger
Looking out his window from the 42nd floor of the Flamingo Las Vegas, Marty Engelhardt was living a dream.
For Engelhardt the opportunity of a lifetime arose this week when he traveled to Las Vegas to box at Caesar's Palace in the 2002 Everlast Men's U.S. National Amateur Boxing Championship.
Not only did Engelhardt have the chance to box in the well-known ring, he had earned an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the sport he loves.
He faced Edward Joseph, an armed forces specialist ranked third in the nation, in the opening round Tuesday night. Engelhardt, 23, lost in the first round after the referee stopped the fight.
"(Joseph) rang Marty's bell, but he didn't get hurt," Engelhardt's mother, Mary, said today.
Mary Engelhardt said that while her son would have liked to pull off an upset, he was content with having the opportunity. "He's thrilled, he's enjoying the moment."
If Engelhardt had won in his opening bout, he would have faced the top amateur boxer in the nation, Sesu Powell from the Bronx.
Engelhardt, who grew up and trained in Havre, is representing the WyMonDak region in Las Vegas, which includes boxers from Montana, Wyoming and North and South Dakota. Engelhardt was unranked going into the tournament. He had competed in a regional tournament and placed high enough to represent Montana at the national championship.
Another highlight for Engelhardt was having the opportunity to meet national and international coaches he had only read about in magazines.
Now a coach for young children in Billings, Engelhardt will be able to bring his experiences back to the youth who look up to him.
"He's setting up a role model for the little kids in Billings," Mary Engelhardt said. "It shows that even if you don't have the natural ability, if you have the heart and stick with it, you can do it."
Engelhardt will arrive back in Montana on Monday. Mary Engelhardt said her son has not ruled out the idea of continuing to box in the future and maybe, once again, compete at the national level.