Toughman Invades Beckley - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Toughman Invades Beckley

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BECKLEY -

The Toughman is a rare sporting event, giving people, just like the spectators, a chance to fight in the ring.

"My whole family is boxers. My papas, my uncles, my mom. It's always been in my blood. I love it," said third-generation fighter Dell Long.

"I always watch from the stands. I said I want to try it one year and see what it's like," said fighter Nick Basham.

"Just the adrenaline rush. I love doing it and I love fighting," said fighter Cody Sears.

So while the fighters are preparing so are organizers, since the event doesn't just happen overnight.

"The last eight or nine weeks it's been nonstop, daily work on fighter recruitment, fighter registration and the promotion of the event," fight promoter Jerry Thomas said.

This is the 34th year the Toughman has stopped in Beckley. And for Thomas, he sees a lot of familiar faces time and time again.

"They love the event, and they pass it on from generation to generation. So we're excited about that and pleased that people follow the event over those many years and they keep coming back," he said.

Once the fighters step into the ring, it's a lot different from seeing it from the stands.

"There is no feeling like it in the world. It's the best feeling there is. It's the best adrenaline rush there is. No feeling like it," Sears said.

"A lot of haymakers. We just go at it and meet in the middle and start throwing," Basham said.

When it comes to Beckley, it's an event that gets bigger and bigger. This year featuring more than 150 fighters.

"We received nearly 190 entries for this year's event which is an all-time record for this event," Thomas said.

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