South grad to headline boxing event

PARKERSBURG – Parkersburg South graduate Dustin Echard is more than excited to be fighting in his hometown for the very first time as professional boxer.

Echard, who is 5-0 with four knockouts as a pro, is set to face off in the main event against Chris Govan this evening at Ohio Valley University’s Alumni Gymnasium during the Fighting Scots Fight Night 1 with proceeds going to the softball program.

The ex-Patriot, who played four years of baseball at Fairmont State and earned his degree in civil engineering, was in town Friday for his weigh-in. He will headline an expected 12-bout card that features three pro affairs, eight amateur fights and one amateur heavyweight kickboxing battle.

Echard, a running back and defensive end for head coach Mike DeVol during the Patriots’ 2003 Class AAA state football championship season, said he considers himself an orthodox right-hander.

“I was a pitcher in college and I threw about 89 to 90 in baseball so I’m guessing my right hand gives me a lot of torque,” said Echard, who was 16-2 as an amateur with all his fights coming in Toughman contests that included winning titles in both Parkersburg and Clarksburg.

“It gives me a lot of speed and power when I throw it. I played football since I was 12 and I was used to taking a hit. I wouldn’t say I’m reckless, but when I get in the ring I mean business.”

Fighting as a light heavyweight, Echard fully understands he has a lot of work to do in order to accomplish what he wants to inside the ring.

“The further I go the more technical fighters I’ll face. Brawling can only get you so far,” Echard added. “When you get to more advanced people it’s more technical. I really believe in myself. I have the heavy hands the speed to do it and I have the grit.

“The only thing left is my technique and getting more experience. That’s the edge your world champions have over everybody. They fought 70 to 100 amateur fights, which I don’t have. But, what I do have to make up for that is just my physical talent.”

Currently working as a civil engineer for Consol Energy, Echard admitted most of his time is spent training, being in coal mines all day and sleeping.

“As far as boxing goes, I’d like to make a career and a living out of something I’d like to pursue full-time when I can,” stated Echard, who trains at Fairmont’s Team Outlaw Gym.

With a future eye set on capturing the West Virginia light heavyweight state title, Echard said he’s more than ready for his scheduled six-rounder tonight in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

“There’s not too many pro boxers in Parkersburg anymore, but hopefully a lot of people want to come watch and see what it’s all about and all the hard work I’ve put in and see what I can do in the ring,” Echard added.

“That’s what I’m looking for. I’ve fought in Charleston and in Morgantown, for the most part. My fan base of friends will come up. I’m kind of excited to see who all comes out to support me I haven’t seen yet. I’m pretty amped up about it.”

The first fight is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and doors will open at 6:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $20 and $15 for children 12-and-under.