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Plenty of fists to fly on Friday

Jan. 11, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Promoter Jerry Thomas isn't sure what to expect when the amateurs enter the ring for Toughman boxing.

On the flip side, Thomas has a good idea what to expect when pros enter the ring.

"We've got a good fight in the making," Thomas said of the pro bout scheduled Saturday night when champion Bobby Thomas Jr. of Oak Hill defends his West Virginia cruiserweight title against Warren Browning at Big Sandy Superstore Arena. "They don't like each other. Warren's been chasing Bobby around."

Their fight is scheduled for 10 rounds on the 25th Tri-State Original Toughman Contest card.

Toughman bouts begin Friday with 181 fighters registered. Arena gates open at 6:30 p.m. both days, with bouts starting at 7:30 p.m. Fighters will enter the ring once Friday and several times Saturday until champions are crowned.

Tickets are $15 adult general admission, $20 reserved and $30 for VIP ringside in the first four rows.

Purchase tickets at Big Sandy Superstore Arena or any Ticketmaster outlet. To charge by phone call 800-745-3000.

Bobby Thomas (11-1-0, 8 KOs) has won eight straight bouts. He beat Keith Barr on Nov. 4, 2011, to win the vacant West Virginia heavyweight crown. He secured the state cruiserweight title with a unanimous decision over Joe Paintiff in their scheduled 10-rounder on Feb. 5, 2011, in Parkersburg. He's 1-0 at Big Sandy as he knocked out Cullen Rogers in the first round in their pro bout at the Toughman show in 2011.

Browning (17-2-1, 12 KOs) is from Lenore, W.Va. He's won three straight, all by TKO. His last loss was to Eric Molina on Aug. 8, 2011 in Las Vegas.

"They'll both bring it," Jerry Thomas said.

Jason Pettaway of Huntington (11-1-0, 8 KOs) will be at ringside Saturday and ready to challenge the winner to a bout. Pettaway's been idle since March 17, 2012, when Magomed Abdusalamov stopped him in the fourth round of a scheduled 10-rounder at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Toughman men's and women's champions will receive cash and a Toughman jacket. The Miss Ring Girl winner also gets money and a jacket.