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Event a big success in Huntington

Jan. 13, 2013 @ 12:27 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The hits just kept coming at the 25th Annual Tri-State Original Toughman Contest on Saturday night.

Following a nearly sold-out opening night Friday, the crowd for Saturday's bouts nearly matched Friday's total of almost 5,000 Toughman fans, and that doesn't even count the more than 180 fighters.

It was just the kind of thing Veronica Hordubay, marketing and sales manager for the arena, was hoping for.

"This is a great, local fun event, and people have so much fun here," Hordubay said. "I am a huge boxing fan, so I really enjoy this too. Boxing really is a great big part of West Virginia's history, and it really shows here."

That history certainly is not lost on longtime boxing promoter Jerry Thomas, who is marking his 36th year of promoting fights throughout the world.

He said the Toughman in Huntington is not only the largest of the 10 contests held throughout the state, but it also is one of the top ten events of its kind in the nation.

"Huntington always has great fighters, and it always has been a fight town," Thomas said. "It's the home of the Golden Gloves contest, and there is just a very deep-rooted history of fighting, specifically boxing in this town. Combine that with its location, and there is a deep base for an event like this in the area. A lot of folks just enjoy the event."

Joshua Brumfield of Gallipolis, Ohio, can attest to the boxing mania that still exists in Huntington. He has been a boxing fan since he was a child, and he said he has been working up the strength, mentally and physically, to enter the ring for years.

"There's everything here. The atmosphere is positive, and there is entertainment everywhere you look," Brumfield said. "You gotta hand it to those fighters, I would like to get in there one day, but it would take a lot of work for me to even sign up to get in the ring."

For Kimberly and Rex Burton of Chesapeake, getting in the ring is out of the question, but sitting as close to it as possible definitely is their idea of a good time.

"What is fun here is that the fighters here don't quit unless they get knocked out," Kimberly Burton said. "They go at it no matter what is going on, and they keep up the good fights."

For complete results from the 25th Annual Tri-State Original Toughman Contest, visit www.heralddispatch.com.

Follow Lacie Pierson via Twitter @LaciePiersonHD.



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