Baker ready to scrap at Smackdown 2

Photo Provied Joel Baker, a lawyer in Ripley, is set to take on Johnny McAllister in a scheduled four-round pro cruiserweight bout tonight at Summer Smackdown 2 at the Gough Hazard. Both fighters are making their debuts.

PARKERSBURG — Virginia native Joel Baker, a lawyer in Ripley, will be competing in one of four professional boxing matches on tonight’s Dawghouse Promotions Summer Smackdown 2 card set for the Gough Hazard off Core Road.

Baker will tangle with Follansbee’s Johnny McAllister in a scheduled cruiserweight four-rounder as both fighters are making their pro debuts on the expected 16-bout show put together by Mike Sheppard.

“I met Mike probably 8 or 10 years ago and just kind of exchanged pleasantries with him,” said the University of Virginia at Wise graduate who enters the fight at age 37.

Although temperatures are expected to hit at least 90 today, Baker doesn’t have much concern with that even though he’s fighting early on the outdoor show, which has gates opening at 6:30 p.m. with the first fight scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

“It was 118 in the garage the other day. He’s got me used to the heat,” Baker said of trainer Wayne Smith.

“I hate it. I can think about the fight and start sweating. I’m trying to condition myself to perform in it.

“Win or lose this fight, I’ve lost almost 40 pounds so I’ve already won. At age 37, I’m in the best shape of my life.”

Former Parkersburg South softball standout Michelle McCrady Stover actually sparked Baker’s interest in getting back in the ring himself.

“I trained Michelle for a fight back in October (Southside Rumble 2),” Baker explained.

“She performed spectacularly and I told Mike I can’t sit on the sideline anymore. I want to get back in before I get too old and he said I can make it happen.

“He told me when his next card was and I said let’s do it. I told him I’d turn pro and we’ll do it that way. There’s no sense of doing amateur stuff anymore. I’m here to test myself and see how good I can do.”

The southpaw Baker also said he will have “former world champion Perry Ballard in my corner. Michelle is 100 percent all about it. She’s supportive of everything I want to do. Michelle pushes me whether she realizes it or not and it’s cool having her support.”

Baker, who spars at Sheppard’s Dawghouse Gym as well as the Elk River Boxing Club, said his goal is to have 10 pro bouts before the age of 40.

“I want to see how it goes just to test myself and push myself,” he said. “When you step between the ropes it comes down to skill. He may be tough. I hope he is tough. I want a good fight. I don’t want it to be one-sided either way. I want to put on a good show in front of everybody.

“I know a little bit about the guy. I’ve never seen him fight. I know he switches stances. He’s roughly my height and probably has the same reach as me. It should be an exciting fight.”

When asked if he expected a solid fan turnout for “Team Baker” this evening he replied, “yeah man. I’ve got people coming from Virginia and Pennsylvania.

“I started practicing law in Boone County and I got a crew coming up from down there. Hopefully, we don’t have to have security for those guys.”

The main event, a scheduled pro welterweight four-rounder, will pit Wes Hanson against Fairmont’s Coty Wilson, who works out of the Tommy Thomas Boxing Club.

Locals Ryan Carroll and Steven Whitehair will meet in a pro welterweight four-rounder and the other pro bout also features area fighters in Brad Morehead and John Bailey. That bout is at light cruiserweight and also scheduled for four rounds.

In all, six Dawghouse Promotions title fights will be up for grabs and that includes the expected second bout of the evening. It will pit former Toughman champs Haley Bishop of Bridgeport against Hailey Pennington of Huntington.

General admission tickets are $25.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

Updated Fight Card for Summer Smackdown 2 on

Saturday at the Gough Hazard off Core Road

Gough Hazard Black Corner/Marion Tennant Preowned Auto Blue Corner

PB: Steven Whitehair (Parkersburg) vs. Ryan Carroll (Williamstown)

*AB: Haley Bishop (Bridgeport) vs. Hailey Pennington (Huntington)

AB: Austin Crouch (Parkersburg) vs. Austin Maxwell (Parkersburg)

PB: Johnny McAllister (Follansbee) vs. Joel Baker (Ripley)

AKB: Jeremy Hinkle (Cumberland, Md.) vs. Zach Hardman (Parkersburg)

MMA: Joe Lemon (Parkersburg) vs. Ali Capobianco (Albrightsville, Pa.)

*AB: Tom Kizer (Morgantown) vs. Jake Wickline (Frostburg, Md.)

AB: Jeffery Mycek (Delaware) vs. Derick Hamrick (Parkersburg)

*MMA: Nathan Gill (Clay) vs. Matt Tennant (Parkersburg)

PB: Brad Morehead (Parkersburg) vs. John Bailey (Parkersburg)

PB: Wes Hanson (Charleston) vs. Coty Wilson (Fairmont)

*AB: Ronald Harrison (Coal Grove, Ohio) vs. Noah Sias (Gallipolis, Ohio)

MMA: Ryan Blankenship (Beauty, Ky.) vs. Sam Kinker (Veto, Ohio)

*AB: Ritchie Loew (Bellaire, Ohio) vs. George Brown (Elizabeth)

*AB: Abhay Horvath (Wheeling) vs. Austin Sprouse (Parkersburg)

AB: Tyler Magee (Morgantown) vs. Aaron Moore (Parkersburg)

*Denotes Dawghouse Promotions title fight

Notes: All fights subject to change. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and fights start at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $25. Limited VIP tables are available by calling 304-483-5503.