About every day between a dozen and two dozen Marines meet on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to practice boxing, not knowing the next time they’ll step into the ring to face a real opponent due to COVID-19. They all show up for different reasons - to maintain physique, try something new, become a champion or simply get out of the barracks.

One common thread runs through all the Marines who train for retired Sgt. Maj. Michael Cline, a Marine Corps boxing coach - they want to grow and become the very best they can be.

“Coach ensures these guys know it’s not just about being part of the team, but it’s about making sure you pull the best out of you,” said Marine boxer Chief Warrant Officer 3 Victor Vega. “They get an opportunity to lead, but they also get an opportunity to challenge themselves beyond what they thought they were capable of.”

Coach Cline utilizes his experience as both a boxer and a coach to form a strong nucleus for the operation.

“He is a motivator,” Vega said. “He’s going to push you to drive the best out of yourself.”

Cline says the number one attribute a boxer must have is heart, because that’s where blood flows and passion is found. Boxers also need to understand the meaning of commitment.

“Boxing is not a weekend warrior sport,” Cline said. “It’s a commitment, a dedication and a self-motivator.”

The ultimate goal Cline has for his boxers is to win an Olympic gold medal for “God, Corps and Country,” he said, but even if a Marine has no boxing experience, a spot on the team can be earned if you’re driven enough.

Cline also uses various approaches to teach Marines the correct boxing techniques and fundamentals while placing a focus on leadership training and self-discipline so they can have positive impacts on their fellow Marines.

“I have a lot of knowledge,” Cline said. “I can’t take it with me. All I can do is pass it on.”

Marines with serious interest in boxing can text Cline at (910) 265-2710 for more info.