by Walt Johnson
Fort Carson’s Carrie Barry knew the road to the women’s U.S. National boxing title was going to be rough this year.
Sitting in a gym in Colorado Springs while the Army boxing team was training for the competition, Barry knew that her weight class had no less than 20 competitors , each of whom at one time or another have been ranked the top fighter in the country or won a national championship, including her.
Barry showed the confidence of a champion when asked about having to face so much competition in the only way she would ever know how.
“I don’t mind this level of competition at all. It’s going to be a deeper group this year because some women are coming up and some are coming down to fight in this weight class,” Barry said. “This weight class could easily be called the tournament of champions because most of us have won a national title.
But this is why I box — to go against the best —because it’s no fun to fight someone that does not have good skills.”
Barry is so revered in the boxing community that many people expected the title match to come down to her and Queen Underwood, the four-time reigning champion. As the luck of the draw would have it, the two boxers were picked for a second-round bout, which, to the dismay of many fans, meant one of the two favorites would not be in position to fight for the title on championship night.
While neither boxer complained about the pairing, they both knew they were going to have to bring their championship-level skills to the fight. Underwood won a competitive bout, 14-10, eliminating Barry, who has also been a four-time U.S. Nationals champion.
After the fight, Barry said it was time to focus on getting a shot at the U.S. Olympic team and not think much about the battle with Underwood.
“I thought the bout came down to the vantage point the judges had. I executed the game plan the coaches gave me, and I felt good about that,” Barry said. “(Underwood) is ranked No. 3 in the world and she is good, but I don’t think she is that much better than me. After the fight, she even said we should have been in the finals. After each fight, you always ask yourself did you do enough … I think I need to go back and polish up some things.”
The one thing Barry will not do is let her desire to be on the U.S. National team fade. She said an hour after the fight she got a sign to keep working.
“I saw a sign that says ‘Not getting what you want is a stroke of luck’ and
I am hoping it’s a sign that I am on track to where I want to be,” Barry said.