In many years, the Toughman boxing field has recognizable names.
Many times there are defending champions who you might expect to see fighting in the championship bouts.
This year, though, is different.
It’s wide open, according to veteran Toughman boxing promoter Jerry Thomas.
Thomas brings his Original Toughman Contest to Logan High School for the 25th-annual Coal Area Toughman event this Friday and Saturday.
More than 80 men and women have already signed up for the amateur event.
Bell time is set for 7:30 p.m. each night.
“There’s a lot of new fighters this year, so that’s a good thing,” Thomas said. “That means that there’s opportunities for new people to win. I honestly don’t see any names that stick out. I think that it’s going to be open which is really nice.”
Up to $12,000 in prize money will be awarded at this year’s event. There are four weight classes for men and also weight classes for women.
The Toughman can also be viewed on Sunday nights on Suddenlink Cable’s Network West Virginia Channel 2.
“We expanded that this year,” Thomas said. “It’s now on every Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on Network West Virginia. It will feature one event, for example, the Logan event, for an entire month. It’s a two-hour highlights show of the featured card of events. In January through October there is a different event each month. In November and December it’s the best of the best from the previous 10 events. That’s pretty good. This has been really nice.”
Thomas said the Toughman highlight show is also available on streaming internet.
“We’ve expanded it even further for people who don’t have Suddenlink who cannot get it through Network West Virginia’s own website,” Thomas said. “It’s currently free. All you have to do is go to the video on demand section. It is technically streaming video. Anyone in the world now can see this program through the internet which is pretty cool. Suddenlink is one of the largest cable providers in the state but it’s not everywhere. People who live in the country and have satellite don’t get it. Now you can go on line and get this program and watch it at your leisure. You can also see more than just the program that is being shown on TV. You can watch the current show and also the previous month’s events.”
This year’s Toughman is sponsored by Mike Ferrell Toyota-Scion of Chapmanville, Acme Bail Bonds, Network West Virginia, friendsofcoalminers.net, Suddenlink Media and 96.1 the Wolf.
Locals Daniel Hensley and Jason Smith are set to have professional bouts this weekend.
On Friday, Logan’s Smith (5-1, 3 KO’s) will fight a four-round bout against James Denson of Akron, Ohio.
Then on Saturday, Hensley (6-0), a Chapmanville native, will fight a four-round bout versus Orion Bolds of Canton, Ohio.
Both Smith and Hensley are former Toughman Champions and fan favorites. Both bouts are in the light heavyweight class.
Hensley stepped back into the ring last June and won a four-round unanimous decision over Ohio native Gonzales Jones in a boxing card which was held at Logan. It was the first pro fight for Hensley in 12 years.
Smith’s opponent Denson has a win over Ryan Britton, who fought and lost to Verdunville pro Jordan Moore at last year’s Logan Toughman.