South grad Echard atop Fishbone fight card

VIENNA – Less than three months after defeating Chris Govan via a first round TKO at the Ohio Valley University Alumni Gymnasium, Parkersburg South graduate Dustin Echard has quite the stepping-stone match come Saturday, Aug. 3 at the Fishbone Fight Night 1.

That’s because promoter Mike Sheppard announced Tuesday that Echard would headline the card as the main event when he takes on Oak Hill’s Shawn Laughery (5-0) in a scheduled six-rounder. The winner of this light heavyweight showdown then will be matched against Eric Watkins, who is 9-4 with 5 KOs, but three of his setbacks have come versus undefeated fighters.

“That winner will take on Watkins for the (vacant light heavyweight) West Virginia state title on Steve Simons’ show 20 days later in Morgantown,” Sheppard said. “It’s a 10-rounder.

“Dustin is excited about it. We’ve been trying to get this fight for six or eight months, but something is always going on.”

Echard improved to 6-0 with 5 KOs after his last local showing.

“Watkins is the number one contender,” added Sheppard, who will fight on the under card against Justin Novaria.

“Dustin is just so strong and athletic. It’s right in front of him and all he has to do now is go get it.”

Aside from Echard and Sheppard’s pro fights, the card also will include two other pro boxing bouts. Parkersburg’s Nate Hall is set to face Huntington’s Nathan Butcher. Parkersburg heavyweight Joe Paintiff’s opponent is still to be determined. That is also the case with Chad Blevins, whose opponent for the lone kickboxing match is still being finalized.

Tickets, which are available at several locations in the Mid-Ohio Valley, are $25 in advance and $30 at the door for the outdoor show at the Fishbone Gill and Grill.

“If we happen to have a shower or two we’ll have a delay like a ball game,” Sheppard added about Mother Nature possibly causing problems at the event. “The forecast is looking to shape up there.”

Another hopeful late addition to the card could be former West Virginia heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Bobby Thomas, Jr.

“His manager is looking for an opponent right now,” Sheppard said of the Oak Hill native.