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Wounded Soldier leaves lasting impression on Leija, dedicates last fight to U.S. Troops

KSAT 12 - San Antonio

Sean Beverage was wounded in Iraq in December during a suicide bombing in a mess hall tent.

San Antonio boxer Jesse James Leija was driven to tears Tuesday before he boarded a flight for Atlantic City for his upcoming world title fight.

While checking in at San Antonio International Airport, Leija ran into a soldier who was injured in the December suicide mess hall tent bombing in Mosul, Iraq.

Sean Beverage, who has been recovering from his injuries at Brooke Army Medical Center, was in a wheelchair waiting to board a flight to his home in Seattle when he and Leija met.

"I'm emotional because what he does ... he does it for his life," a teary-eyed Leija said. "It touched me. He's a real hero. He's my hero."

"He ... told me he appreciated the sacrifices we make," Beverage said. "It's pretty nice."

Leija said the meeting left him with such an impression that he will dedicate his fight with Arturo Gatti on Saturday night to U.S. troops fighting the war on terrorism.

Web Posted: 01/26/2005