In his more than 30 years of being a Toughman boxing promoter, Jerry Thomas has seen it all.
Year in and year out new fighters step into the ring and proove to their buddies that they can compete.
Some boxers sign up on a dare.
Others train hard with aspirations of winning the Toughman title.
For almost all, it’s about competing and having fun.
The Coal Area Toughman rolls into Logan High School this weekend for the 27th-annual event and anticipation has been brewing for the yearly even for weeks.
Around 80 men and women have already signed up and Thomas said he expects another good show this weekend in Logan.
Bell time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
“It’s a show and most everyone has a good time,” Thomas said. “Some are not happy about the results and there’s nothing that you can do about that but it’s looking like it’s going to be another great event in Logan. It always has been since Day One, twentysome years ago. There’s a lot of personalities, a lot of characters and a lot of interesting people. It just seems like it builds over time. We’ve been recruiting fighters for about six weeks. We get entries just about every day. You just never know what you are going to receive as far as entries. It amazes me.”
Almost every year, the Logan Toughman falls on Veterans Day week.
Thomas is a veteran himself and a former member of the United States Marine Corps.
“This is Veterans Day week and it’s the 240th birthday of the Marine Corps. The Marines will be there both nights to present the colors and they will also be doing a pull-up contest,” Thomas said. “We’ll be doing a tribute to the veterans.”
Fighter weigh-ins are set for 4:30 p.m. on Friday. The gates will be open at 6:30 for the fans.
“We still have room for lightweights and middleweights. We’ll try to make room for everyone if they qualify,” Thomas said. “It will be easier to win the title in those classes because there’s not as many competitors in those divisions.”
One of the highlights to this year’s Toughman is a professional bout on Friday night, pitting last year’s Logan Toughman champion Turner “Money” Williams of Beckley, against “The Romantic Redneck” Melvin Russell of Ashland, Ky.
Russell is a former two-time Huntington Toughman champ and is 2-0 as pro.
Williams, who breezed to last year’s Toughman title in Logan, will be making his professional debut.
The fight is scheduled for four rounds and is a light heavyweight bout.
“That pro fight is going to be a good one,” Thomas said.
The Toughman is a single-elimination boxing tournament that is open to area men and women, 18-39 years of age, with no pro fights and limited or no amateur fighting experience.
All bouts are scheduled for three one-minute rounds, with all fighters wearing 16-ounce gloves, protective headgear and a mouth piece.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1730, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).