Boxers with MC ties inducted in boxing hall
By ZACHARY FITZGERALD
A former Morgan City High School boxer who was one of the first state champions in the sport in 1931 and another longtime Morgan City resident were among 33 members of the inaugural class to be inducted into the Louisiana High School Boxing Hall of Fame Sunday.
Former Morgan City High School boxer Linden Bonner and former Plaquemine High School boxer Edwin Ourso were inducted Sunday posthumously during a ceremony at the Sunset Events Center. Ourso was a longtime Morgan City resident.
The event was organized by the Louisiana High School Boxing Association.
Bonner won state championships in 1931, 1933, 1934, and 1935. Bonner was the first of 12 four-time boxing state champions, said Don Landry, author of the book “Boxing: Louisiana’s Forgotten Sport, A history of high school and college boxing.”
Bonner won the 118-pound class in 1931, the 126-pound class in 1933, the 136-pound class in 1934, and in 1935, he won the 135-pound class.
Ourso went by the nickname “Tarzan,” Landry said, and won the 98-pound class in 1936, the 112-pound class in 1937, and the 118-pound class in 1938.
Boxing was a Louisiana High School Athletic Association sport from 1931 to 1958.
In 1932, Bonner finished second in the state in the 126-pound weight class but won the first-ever Brink Trophy that year. The trophy went to the outstanding fighter in the state tournament, Landry said.
“He (Bonner) was the first superstar in high school boxing,” Landry said.
The 33 members inducted into Louisiana High School Boxing Hall of Fame included coaches, boxers, and Francis Brink who started high school boxing. The Brink Trophy was named for him.
“A lot of these boxers were smaller people,” Landry said. “And that’s one of the things they liked about it. If you weren’t tall enough to be a basketball player or big enough to be a football player, because of all the different weight limits, there was room for everybody.”
“I know, myself, I was not a good boxer, but I lettered on the varsity in the eighth grade and in the ninth grade,” Landry said.
In 1931, the Morgan City High School team tied for fourth place at the state. In 1932, the team finished tied for second place. In 1933, Morgan City High School finished fourth as a team again. “They were one of the most powerful teams in the state those first few years,” Landry said.
Bonner went on to box at Centenary College in Shreveport.
One of Bonner’s relatives agreed to donate Bonner’s Brink Trophy, the first one awarded in 1932, to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches. The hall of fame also has the last Brink Trophy, awarded in 1958.
Bonner’s grandson, Jason Bonner, received the hall of fame induction on Bonner’s behalf.
Bonner, a resident of Houston, passed away in 2000.
Ourso competed in college at Southwestern Louisiana Institute, now Louisiana-Lafayette — from 1940 to 1941.
Ourso also boxed in the U.S. Navy where he was champion of the South Pacific, Ourso’s daughter Sabena Ourso Crochet said.
Ourso boxed in a tournament in New York and received the Gene Cooney Medal, Crochet said. He died in December 1999.
The Louisiana High School Boxing Association plans to induct another 30 boxers into the Hall of Fame in 2014.