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May 4, 2013

Blodgett recalls boxing match with bombing suspect

What a small world we live in.

Jon Blodgett Jr. finds it hard to believe that he once was in the ring with one of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers.

Ten years ago, Blodgett fought Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the New England Boxing Championships at Good Times Arcade in Somerville. He had never seen him before that amateur fight and never got in the ring with him again. But what a shock it was when he heard the names of the brothers who are accused of doing the bombings.

“I remembered the name because it was so unusual,” said the former Peabody High baseball and football star, who is now a juvenile probation officer and also helps train young fighters at Jack Dullea’s Gym in Peabody. “It is surreal to think anybody can rub shoulders with a person capable of doing something so horrific.

“That Friday morning (after the gunfight in Watertown that left Tamerlan dead and a huge manhunt underway for his younger brother) I was getting ready for work and recognized the last name,” added Blodgett. “At first I wondered if it might be a relative, but by the time I got to work I had heard his first name. I couldn’t believe it was the same person I had fought.

“After the fight we exchanged a few words, and his trainer said we would probably meet again. We never did, even though the amateur boxing circuit in New England is so small your names cross paths often. He went on to do quite well, but in light of the acts he committed I don’t want to give him credit for anything.”

The New England championships are held in the fall leading up to the Golden Gloves in January. Blodgett and Tsarnaev met in the finals of the 178-pound Novice Class. Blodgett was trained by Dullea and had not seen the Russian fight the previous week. He stunned Tsarnaev in the first round (amateur fights go three rounds) with a solid body punch.

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