Lubbock boxing coach remembers watching Boston bombing suspect - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock boxing coach remembers watching Boston bombing suspect


Tamerlan Tsarnaev's name and face has been plastered across every television screen, all across the country, all week.

Yet, for Lubbock boxing coach Bobby Lee, his name did not ring a bell.

"His face didn't jump out at me. His name definitely didn't jump out at me," Lee said.

Then pictures of Tsarnaev boxing started to emerge, one by one.

"I went, wow that kid was a boxer. But I still didn't recognize him," he said.

It was not until the mention of the "golden gloves" that Lee was prompted to look twice.

"I went, well I was there! I checked it out and there it was!" Lee said.

Lee was in Salt Lake City, Utah for the National Golden Gloves boxing tournament in 2009.

"I remember in the quarter finals, I was watching the heavy weight division. There was this young man, he had the same style as the Russians," Lee said.

Lee has been coaching for more than 40 years. He's traveled all across the globe and has seen all styles of boxing.

"Russians will leave their left hand way out in front. They'll twirl it in a circle to get your attention and then they'll drop the big right hand."

Tsarnaev was up against Chicago boxer Lamar Fenner that night.

"He actually stopped Fenner with a standing 8-count with a big right hand. I'm going, woah! This boy got some power!"

Tsarnaev lost that bout and was not able to advance.

"After he lost, I walked up to him while he was walking out of the ring, while he was taking his gloves off and I remember putting my hand on his shoulder. He was very stalky, well-built, fairly nice-looking young man. He was very sweaty and he was doing his head like, I thought I beat him maybe. And said to him, 'Hey, keep up. You're gonna do better. This is a different style here than in Europe. I said you fight just like a Russian.'"

Tsarnaev said something back to him in Russian but Lee did not understand it.

"I was just thinking, this kid had a lot of power. Probably gonna see something of him," Lee said.

Never in Lee's wildest dreams did he think the next time he would see "the Russian kid with the powerful right punch" would be on his television screen identified as the suspect tied to the Boston bombings.

"We didn't know he was gonna do this back then. If I had of known today what he just did in Boston to the Bostonians, I would have never shaken his hand," Lee said.

With all the attention on the suspects, Lee thinks it is very important to remember the victims.

"They are terrorists. That's what it is. It has to be. They killed all those people and injured those families. My thoughts go out to them, not to this kid."

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