By Rick Sheek
JOHNSON CITY — The first venture was ultra-successful, so the Johnson City Athletic Club is bringing boxing back to the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department.
The second annual Cobb Riddle-Deacon Bowers Boxing Championships are Saturday night. Bell time is 6 p.m.
“I saw that, when we were over there last year, just looking around and seeing all the people that were there,” JCAC coach Scott Vance said during Thursday afternoon’s workout. “It seemed to me that doing it every year would be the right thing to do for Cobb and Deacon. That’s the reason why I’m doing it, is for Cobb and Deacon, for the most important reason.”
Riddle and Bowers are retired boxing legends from Elizabethton who were each driving forces behind amateur fighting in this area.
“To me, I think it looks like Elizabethton needs a boxing program over there,” Vance said. “Because we have a lot of kids that are interested in it. I’ve had a lot of kids wanting to try to start something over there, and just haven’t done it yet.
“I see the need for boxing in Elizabethton, and the need for the Cobb Riddle- Deacon Bowers tournament to go on every year. Last year was a great success, and this year I think it’s going to be bigger.”
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $10, $3 for children under 10.
Six states will be represented – Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and West Virginia. On the card were 24 bouts, as of Thursday.
JCAC’s Jake Robbins will take the ring at 125 pounds. He’ll fight a 132-pounder from Ohio.
“He has a little more experience than Jake, and I think it will be a good fight for him,” Vance said. “It should be a good learning experience for him. He’s got a little bit more experience than my kid, but I think we’re going to be OK in the fight.”
Luke Bright is a 145-pound champion, prevailing at the nationals a year ago. His opponent is Ohio’s Colton Brumfield.
“He’s a real strong kid,” Vance said. “He hits hard. They said (Brumfield) is a pretty strong kid, so it should be a good fight with those two.”
Mitchell Bright faces Desmond Lyon of Augusta, Ga., at 100 pounds.
“I don’t know Desmond, what kind of fighter he is or who he is,” Vance said. “I’ve heard of him, but he’s coming from a good gym.”
Sam Blevins of Elizabethton is on the card at 115 pounds in his ring debut, facing Knoxville’s John Breeden.
“Pretty tough kid, but I think it is going to be interesting how the fight goes,” Vance said. “Like I always tell my boys, I don’t care about win or loss situations. Because a win will come, if you perform right.
“I just care about you performing. Now when they get to the point that they’re up there at the age where it counts, then it’s time to win. You’ve got to win. You’ve got to be consistent.”
Robert Hall Jr. is fighting in the open division, a co-main event bout.
The 201-pounder is moving up to super heavyweight for a hairing with Knoxville’s Mike Pannell.
“It should be a good fight,” Vance said. “We’re moving up in weight class to get a fight, because there is nobody at 201 to fight him.”
Headlining the card will be Mike Thomas (265 pounds) against Mike Harless (240) of West Virginia.
“Two big boys,” Vance said. “They love those big guys. They love watching those big guys.
“I think it’s going to be a good show. I think it’s going to be a good fight.”
Luke Bright was on the inaugural card in the Blackbottom building a year ago, scoring a victory.
“I like winning in the home town,” Bright said. “I like winning at home. I like fighting at home.
“I want people to come and see us. It makes me try harder, getting the home crowd more.”