Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

September 17, 2013

Kentucky Toughman a weekend successs

Hanshaws sweep main events

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

CANNONSBURG — The first installment of the Kentucky Toughman Contest was a big success in the area.

Thirty-eight fighters participated in the two-day event held at El Hasa Shriners Temple this past weekend.

"I was wanting to get 40, but 38 was perfect. It turned out great," said promoter Tom Hanshaw, of East Coast Promotions. "We had good fights, no blood, some knockouts, and a lot of puking going on."

Winners were Dakota Taylor (heavyweight), Gary Haley (light heavyweight) and Trent Blankenship (lightweight). Runners-up were John Fryer (heavyweight), Jeremy Ward (light heavyweight) and Anthony Wade (lightweight).

It was a Hanshaw clean sweep in the boxing main events. Both Tom Hanshaw Jr. and Travis Hanshaw enjoyed knockout victories.

Tom Jr. floored J.P. Felty in the third round on Friday. Travis knocked out Clifford McPherson in the first round on Saturday.

Tom Jr., 28, said he feels like he's in the best shape of his life.

"I'm going up when I'm supposed to be going down," he laughed. "I just had too much reach on (Felty), too much power … I'm ready to fight in October."

Travis, whose early professional success has made him a well-known name outside of the area, rebounded from his first pro loss with the knockout of McPherson. Travis fell to Taras Shelestyuk in an ESPN Friday Night Fights event in June.

Travis said he had to alter his game plan soon after Saturday's bout began.

"(McPherson) caught me with two jabs right off the bat," Travis said. "But I started loosening up, got him in the ropes, and got him with two body shots and a head shot."

When the bell rung signaling the second round, McPherson, a Cleveland native, called it quits.

Both Tom Jr. and Travis may fight in the next Kentucky Toughman contest — time and location have yet to be determined.

There is also a possibility of a Fall Brawl II, a follow-up to last year's MMA/boxing hybrid event.

As for Toughman, Taylor, Haley and Blankenship each advance in the statewide competition.

Tom Hanshaw hopes the state finals will take place in Louisville by December.

Visit kytoughman.com to keep up with Toughman news, including upcoming fighting events in the Bluegrass.