Get ready to rumble: 36th Toughman Contest brings out fighters, fans
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The fans in the nearly packed Big Sandy Superstore Arena on Friday and Saturday were in for some boxing action at the 36th Toughman Contest.
Friday night featured 36 fights where each person fought once. The winners moved on to Saturday where they fought in multiple matches.
Since the Toughman Contest is for amateur fighters only, there is a lot of excitement and cheering from the crowd, something that normally wouldn’t happen at a professional boxing match.
“At the Toughman, you get to see a lot of young fighters,” Paul Thorton, Toughman judge, said. “There is a lot of variety and excitement and cheering from the fans. Pro fights are a lot quieter.”
Thorton has been around boxing since 1965. He is a judge as well as a referee and a chief deputy of the boxing commission. He has also been involved with the Toughman off and on for all 36 years.
“I like the individuality of boxing,” Thorton said. “It’s just the fighters in the ring.”
Fighters from Lawrence County went 3-6 Friday night as Colton Brumfield, of Proctorville, defeated Chad Hale by way of the knockout rule in the light heavyweight division, Ron Harrison, of Coal Grove, defeated Steve Mason in the lightweight division by decision, Tony Bell, of Ironton, fell to Mikey Frazier by decision in the lightweight division, Brent Ervin, of Ironton, fell to Trent Hardy by the knockout rule in the heavyweight division, Chris Akers, of Ironton, fell to James Hunter by decision in the heavyweight division, Dustin Towson, of South Point, dropped the match to Eric Elder by decision in the lightweight division, Jay Cremeans, of Proctorville, fell to Nate Finton in the middle weight division by decision, Eugene Aldridge, of Ironton, dropped the match to Aaron Martin by decision in the heavyweight division and Scarlett Whitley, of South Point, defeated Aymee Spurlock in the women’s lightweight division.
“I’ve been boxing since I was 13,” Whitley said. “I was always picked on in school, so I had to show the guys I could keep up.”
This was Whitley’s first year in the Toughman Contest.
“I like boxing because I can just be myself. When there’s a bad day I can unleash the fury,” she said. “I’m doing it for my babies.”
The tournament continued Saturday, where the winners from Friday moved on to compete for the division titles.
Two women’s and four men’s champions were decided.
Britney Gibson, of Huntington, became the champion by decision in a fight over Marie Hood, of Wayne, in the women’s middleweight division and Jordan Isaac, of Huntington, defeated Alyse Carrasco, of Huntington, by decision in the women’s heavyweight division.
Colton Brumfield, of Proctorville, won the title for the men’s light heavyweight division by decision over Kenova’s Larry Brandon. Trent Hardy, of Ashland, went on to take the men’s heavyweight title by decision over Aaron Martin, of Flatwoods. Cody Nunley defeated Ethan Thompson, of Argillite, for the men’s lightweight title and Justin Clark, of Huntington, went on to win the men’s middleweight title over Ben Schlater.
This was Clark’s second straight Toughman middleweight title.
“The physical condition boxers have to put themselves in can be very difficult,” Kenny Litteral, Toughman worker, said. “It’s all in their preparation and mind.”
Litteral is a volunteer at 304 Boxing Academy in Huntington. This is his second year working for the Toughman. He has fought in it once as well.
“I love it when the undeedog succeeds,” he said. “I love the underdog.”
The men’s Toughman champions received a Toughman jacket as well as $1,000. The women’s champions received a Toughman jacket and prize based on entries.