MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
"Where I grew up was a rough part of town,” Cpl. Oubigee Jones said. “I grew up in the streets of south Dallas, the hood basically. Everyone started fighting at a young age, whether it be to defend themselves or to earn their stripes.”
It all started when Jones was eight years old; he was smaller then and often fell victim to bullying. One evening he came home with a black eye — not wanting to upset his mother, he told her it was from soccer, but being his mother, she knew what had happened. The next week she brought him home a stack of pamphlets. “Pick a new hobbie,” she said.
“They were all about boxing or martial arts,” Jones said. “I had already been playing soccer since I was four and had it not been for that night, I most likely would have focused on soccer. I chose boxing and I picked it up very easily.”
For Jones, boxing has always brought balance to his life. Neither his coaches or his mother condoned fighting outside the ring, yet she wanted him to be confident and be able to stand up for himself. With this new training came new responsibility.
“My mother taught me the three-strike-rule,” he said. “It meant that whoever was picking on me got three strikes and three warnings. After that, she said I needed to do whatever I needed to in order to be safe and get away.”
As Jones began boxing, he said it was exciting, but as he got better he gained the confidence to stand up to bullies. This confidence developed into a drive that would later shape his entire future and the decision to join the Marine Corps.
“I’ve always had that drive — that fight,” Jones said. “The Marine Corps fostered and inspired that fighting spirit more. They fed off of each other. At boot camp you are taught that Warrior Ethos and from there I just paired what I knew.”
After recruit training, Jones focused on his schooling to become an administration specialist. His focus was drawn away from boxing, but not for long.
“About six months after I arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort I began boxing again and it all started with Marine Corps Martial Arts,” Jones said. “As I started fighting and sparring again I felt that old familiar rush. It all came back and I realized I miss fighting. The Marine Corps renewed that fight in me, in ways words can’t describe.”
As talented as Jones was before he enlisted, it wasn’t until after he joined the Corps that his passion was ignited. According to Jones, there were many factors that contributed to his success today. The Marine Corps taught him Warrior Ethos, discipline, and most importantly, it introduced him to his current coaches and mentors.
“Without the Marine Corps, I have no idea where I would be,” Jones said. “All of these coaches, Marines and trainers that the Marine Corps has brought to me have pushed me to be where I am today. People like Gunner Sgt. Courtney Hunt — my coach and mentor.”
As Jones began training again, it caught the eye of some of the Marines on his work shift at the Provost Marshal’s Office. One day after work, Hunt overheard some of the other Marines talking about how Jones trained at the gym after each shift.
“The next day Hunt addressed the Marines, ‘Which one of ya’ll boys is at the gym boxing after work?’” Jones said. “I spoke up and immediately he replied, ‘Son, you don’t know how to fight! What are you doing after work today? I’ll see you at the gym.’”
From then on, Hunt began to train with Jones. Some of the most valuable lessons Jones says he has learned from Hunt are direction, discipline, resilience, endurance and a warrior mindset. But simply training wasn’t enough for Jones. It wasn’t until recently this year that the possibility of fighting for the official Marine Corps team became a hope and a goal for him. Jones and two other Marines from his unit competed in the Chevrolet Freedom Fight exhibition aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on April 14.
“Essentially it was a showcase for the old hall of fame boxers from the Marine Corps Boxing team back in the day,” Jones said. “Decades of fighters, local boxers, and professional boxers all came to compete, to showcase their talents and the passion that a lot of Marines have for the sport and for the Marine Corps.”
It was at this exhibition Jones began to broaden his vision, wanting to give back to the Marine Corps, who he says has given him and so many others like him everything.
“There are so many young Marines who want to box for the Marine Corps,” Jones said. “Marines like me who want to use boxing as a platform to maintain that reputation of the world’s finest fighting force — and if that means going back to the United Kingdom to compete then what better way to honor those who paved the way before us.”
Jones is referring to the boxing showdown held earlier this year between Marines from 1st Marine Division and the British Royal Marines. The two boxing teams competed against each other to enhance relationships and test the reestablishment of the Marine Corps boxing team. Since then, Jones, as well as several other Marines, have been looking forward to one day boxing on that team for the Marine Corps.
“I feel like if we can go back to the UK and fight with the Marine Corps Boxing Team we can shine more light on the sport within the Marine Corps,” Jones said. “We are a war fighting organization made up of warriors. Ultimately, when it comes to training, team or not you have to do it for yourself. But there are Marines who are hungry — no — starving to compete for our Corps doing a sport we love. If it can be done in the ring, we will bring back belts and trophies."