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Toughman to prepare for future fights

Earlier this month Coal Grove native Ronald Harrison stepped through the ropes and into the ring at the Huntington area Original Toughman Contest.

Harrison had no training, just a desire to see how he measured up against the toughest the Tri-State had to offer.

“I had been talking about it for a few years,” Harrison said. “But, at some point you got to stop talking and give it a try. I didn’t train or anything I just decided to go out and give it a shot.”

Harrison won his first fight on Friday night, which advanced him to Saturday night’s round-robin style gauntlet that forced advancing fighters to fight multiple bouts on short rest.

“It was tough,” Harrison said. “After my first fight on Saturday I was already exhausted. Luckily, I won it in 54 seconds so I didn’t have to use too much more energy.”

His next fight was a semifinal match against a brawler named Shannon Stewart. Stewart would push the spindly Harrison to the brink of defeat before the bell in the third and final round ended.

“That was the first fight that I was like whoa, this is a fight,” Harrison said. “It was a battle. He gave me everything he had and I was just happy to win that one.”

In the championship bout Harrison finally ran out of steam against Mike Brock, a fighter who had already claimed one Toughman title.

“Brock just put a whipping on me,” Harrison admitted. “He’s a great fighter and now he’s a two-time champion.”

Harrison hasn’t been deterred by his title fight defeat. Instead, he’s been motivated by it.

“I’ve linked up with Stewart the guy I fought in the semifinal,” Harrison said. “We’re going to start training together and give it another go. Just try to get prepared for some future fights.”

Harrison says he figures if he was runner-up with no training than he could be champion if he puts in the gym work. However, Harrison also admits the Toughman requires a little luck.

“I was runner up without any training,” Harrison said. “I can win it if I train, but it takes some luck, too. I mean I could have fought Brock the first fight and lost right there. So it takes a mix of skill, toughness and luck to advance.”

Harrison was one of two Lawrence County natives to make it to the championship in their respective weight classes. Ironton’s Dakota Taylor claimed the heavyweight title shortly after Harrison was named the lightweight division runner-up.