HUNTINGTON - Chris Miles had contemplated not fighting in the 31st Tri-State Toughman contest, but he was encouraged to go for what might prove to be his third championship.
Miles, 25, is a former Huntington High state championship wrestler for coach Rob Archer who won the Toughman heavyweight division the last two years. Three-time champions are no longer eligible to participate.
But, it didn't happen. Deric Gibson won the all-Huntington heavyweight championship against Miles via split-decision in Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
A push came from the wrestlers at Spring Valley for Miles to go for one last Toughman title and he was convinced to give it a shot. With the prize money, Miles promised new singlets for the wrestling program where is head coach.
"I'm married with three kids, plus I'm coaching and training," Miles said. "I'm pretty busy."
Miles' full-time job is with Autism Services in Huntington which is helping him toward his desired future teaching position in special education. Miles said he's two years away from being able to teach.
Training for the Toughman contest was the last thing on Miles' mind. The only training he had was for his Mixed Martial Arts professional career. Miles is 3-0 in that endeavor with another bout coming in March. Miles said he would like to get to five wins so he will be allowed to fight professionally in other states where that is the minimum needed.
The father of three boys has a training regimen of strength and conditioning three days a week, wrestling with his Timberwolves squad three days and boxing four to five days a week. His day can start as early as 4 a.m.
Depending on the Spring Valley wrestling schedule, Miles has a full day. Take Saturday for instance.
Miles won on Friday with a TKO of Alpha Donley in a fight that ended at approximately 10 p.m. Early Saturday morning he traveled to Ripley where the Timberwolves participated in a meet with the host school, Parkersburg and University. That meet ended at 3 p.m. and Miles had to travel back to Huntington where he fought in Saturday's first fight of the Toughman competition.He won that fight against Nathaniel Lightner of Vanceburg, Kentucky in a match that went the distance and Miles won by unanimous decision.
"This is just for fun," Miles said of the Toughman bouts. "But I go back to my wrestling. Wrestling translates into boxing, MMA, all of it."
Miles fought in Toughman this year at 327 pounds, but is working his way down to 265 for his next MMA fight.