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Punches flew Friday at Big Sandy

January 5, 2019

HUNTINGTON - Eighty fighters from around the Tri-State squared off in the Big Sandy Superstore Arena boxing ring Friday night on opening night of the 31st Toughman Contest.

With names ranging from “Loverboy” Dev Turner to Zachary “Meatloaf” Dillow, fighters participated in 39 bouts. Returning women’s lightweight runner-up Scarlett “White Lightning” Whitley of South Point, Ohio, defeated Beth Belcher by decision in the seventh fight on the card.

While no professional boxing matches were on this year’s Toughman card one belt was awarded. Shawn Laughery from Oak Hill, West Virginia, a two-time Toughman champion now boxing professionally, won the North American Boxing Partners Eastern Region Cruiserweight Championship in October and was presented with the championship belt by Toughman promoter Jerry Thomas from West Virginia Sports Promotions.

To enter Toughman fighters cannot have any professional experience and are limited to three Toughman appearances.

Winners on the opening night in the men’s heavyweight division - where most of the 2019 participants qualified, according to Thomas - included Antonio Murphy, Mark Jackson, Kevin Jackson, Deric Gibson, Zach Shaw, Nathaniel Lightner, William West, Jonathan Cannon, Greg May, Kenny France and Rhamel Hatcher.

Middleweight winners included Gabriel Freyre, Eddie Osborne, Jason Pritt, Michael Lyons, Kip Clark, and Colby Pearson.

Light-heavyweight winners included Keyshawn Stover, Adam Snyder, Randal Durham, Brian Sharp, Nathan Pickens, Richard Bowens and Antoine Davis. In the Lightweight Division, Kaleb Creamer, Jimmy Stephenson, Mitchel Vaughn and Noah Sias were among the winners.

Whitley’s win in the women’s lightweight division was followed by a win by Hailey Pennington of Huntington.

Friday’s winners also included former Huntington High state champion wrestler Chris Miles, the Spring Valley High School wrestling coach. Miles won his match when the referee stopped his bout with Alpha Donley in the first round of their heavyweight fight.

Winners advance to face off for the championships Saturday. Bell time is 7 p.m.

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