29th Toughman Contest coming to town Friday

Right on the heels of the Cincinnati Reds Caravan, another annual event is coming to town.

The widely-popular Mid-Ohio Valley Toughman Contest will be here for the 29th consecutive year at 7:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday at Memorial Fieldhouse.

Entries are still being taken at 1-800-296-3897 or, with anyone – man or woman – between the ages of 18 and 39 eligible if they have had no pro fights and only limited amateur experience.

Toughman basically is a single-elimination boxing tournament, each match consisting of three one-minute rounds, with the entire event sanctioned and supervised by the West Virginia State Athletic Commission.

West Virginia Toughman promoter Jerry Thomas from Clarksburg knows from past experience in Parkersburg that he already has a whole pile of entries on his desk. But he knows too that probably only between 75 and 80 entrants at most will actually show up Friday night to take a physical and fight, with the rest coming down with “Toughman flu.”

And Thomas has expressed to me on numerous occasions through the years that the Toughman show in Parkersburg has always been and still is “one of the best in the state.”

There also will be a pro bout on the card each night. Friday will feature kick boxer Wes Hanson versus Charlie Mullins, and Saturday will see boxer Joe Paintiff take to the ring.

  • Urban Meyer is at it again, reining in the best recruiting class in the Big Ten for Ohio State for the third year in a row thus far.

Of course, we’ll find out the overall conference results come National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

Right now, Meyer has commitments from 12 players in the Rivals 250 recruiting rankings, behind only Alabama and LSU and triple the next-best Big Ten team in Michigan.

Meyer recently was able to flip offensive tackle Brady Taylor of Columbus from Virginia Tech to OSU for verbal commitment No. 22, as he set his mind to sign five offensive linemen, and so far has four.

The Buckeyes’ 2014 recruiting class is now in the top three in team rankings assembled by all three major recruiting services –, and 247Sports.

And this week, they will try to lock up their final recruits. “All indications are that by the time the last week of recruiting season gets here, for Ohio State it likely will be a matter of waiting on the decision of maybe one or two guys,” said recruiting analyst Bill Kurelic of

Those “guys’ are defensive end Solomon Thomas of Coppell, Texas, and possibly defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi of Virginia Beach, Va.

“There just aren’t many spots left (in the class), but landing (nationally-ranked) No. 5 defensive end Solomon Thomas would be the perfect way to cap off another elite class from Urban Meyer,” said Jeremy Crabtree, senior writer for ESPN’s RecruitingNation. “Thomas would bolster depth at defensive end and do it with one of the nation’s best players.”

If Thomas and Nnadi don’t pan out for OSU, two other possibilities are Malik McDowell, a defensive end from Southfield, Mich., that the Buckeyes are trying to flip from Michigan, and wide receiver David Njoku from Cedar Grove, N.J.,” indicated Marc Givler, analyst for

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