The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.


March 26, 2014

Fighters eye Toughman prizes; Thomas to fight pro bout

BECKLEY — West Virginia Sports Promotions Inc. and 105.9 WTNJ are making final preparations for the 35th annual Southern West Virginia Budweiser Original Toughman Contest.

The event will be held this Friday and Saturday, March 28-29 at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.

As of earlier this week, 126 fighters had entered, according to veteran promoter Jerry Thomas, but more entries are being accepted.

This year’s event is being sponsored by Budweiser, Advance Auto Parts, Whitesville State Bank, A-Bail Bonds, Suddenlink Media and Network WV. The host hotel is the Econo Lodge.

Thomas said advance ticket sales have been very strong; however, good seats are still available and are on sale at the convention center, online at, or to charge tickets by phone, call 1-304-252-7361. Ticket prices are $15 general admission, $20 reserved and $30 for VIP ringside (first four rows). Group ticket packages, for groups of 10 or more, are also available at the convention center only.

In addition to the action and excitement that Toughman delivers, two professional boxing bouts are planned this year. On Friday, heavyweight Mike Harless, of Cyclone, will make his pro debut versus George Oiler, of Ghent. On Saturday, cruiserweight Bobby Thomas Jr., of Oak Hill, will face Morgantown’s Eric Watkins in a 10-round WBF and West Virginia title fight.

Thomas (13 2 1, 9 KOs), is a former Toughman champion and a two-time W.Va. state cruiserweight and heavyweight champion.

Watkins (10 6 1,5 KOs) replaces Warren Browning, who was originally slated to fight Thomas but had to withdraw due to illness.

To sign up to fight, call 1-800-296-3897 or go online at

Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. both nights, with the presentation of the colors by the U.S. Marines and the singing of the national anthem.

The event has been sanctioned and will be supervised by the West Virginia State Athletic Commission.

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