When it comes to the area fight scene there are several interesting developments worth noting.
First and foremost, a week from this Saturday inside Glenville's Jesse R. Lilly Gymnasium the 16th annual Rumble on the Hill presented by Leon Ramsey's Dawghouse Gym will take place with action getting underway at 7:30 p.m.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and featured on the card will be a kickboxing showdown between former Glenville State football player "Wild Wild" Wes Hanson and Charlie Mullins.
Proceeds from the Rumble on the Hill will go to the Pioneer football team and athletic programs.
Although the fight card is not 100 percent set in stone, matchmaker Mike Sheppard said it's nearly complete and should be finalized soon.
Speaking of Sheppard, a Wirt County High School teacher and GSC graduate, he recently inked a contract to fight on June 13 in Florida against China Smith. Smith, who last fought in July of 2013 snapping a six-year absence from the ring, is a 6-foot-1 southpaw. He will bring a career 34-4 record with 27 KOs into the bout.
Sheppard said he was working on a fight "over in Russia with a Ukranian" named "Alexander Dimitrenko," but "it was going to happen on April 19, then April 26, then the end of May and then it was set for June 7. I've got Dustin (Echard) fighting in Columbus (Ohio) on that day."
As it turned out, some sort of injury or ailment has sidelined Dimitrenko and that fight isn't going to happen, which opened the opportunity to go against Smith.
"It's a 12-rounder and it's supposed to be for the World Boxing Federation North American title," Sheppard added. "The WBF isn't one of the big four, the WBA, WBO, WBC and IBF, but to be a world champion in that, or to fight for it, would be awesome."
Echard, the West Virginia light heavyweight champ, is set to square off on June 7 against Brian Holstein, who is 8-1-0 with six career knockouts. Echard, who also has six KOs, will bring a 9-0 record into the scheduled eight-rounder, which is for the Ohio state cruiserweight belt. Sheppard said the weight limit was set at 195 in the contract.
Of note, Holstein's lone setback was a six-round unanimous decision loss to Shawn Laughery, who Echard beat via a six-round unanimous decision triumph last August in Vienna.
"On paper the guy (Holstein) is ranked pretty high, but the weight doesn't matter. Dustin is going to kick his butt," Sheppard said. "That guys fights at about 192 and Dustin probably will be at 185 to 186, but I don't think it will matter. (A win) will make Dustin's stock jump so that's why we took it."
After a very successful Fighting Scots Fight Night II back in March, Sheppard also wanted to let the area know the third installment will be coming back to Ohio Valley University's Alumni Gymnasium on May 17. Headlining the card is Parkersburg's Joe Paintiff against Warren Browning.
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