By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Elton John was nowhere to be found in the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center, but his words remained true — Saturday night was alright for fighting.
The 35th Annual Original Toughman Contest came to an end Saturday evening in front of a large crowd.
n The second time was the charm for third generation fighter Dell Long II, who won the heavyweight division by defeating Glen Ullman. The road to the championship was a tough one for “The Artie Bomber.”
Long faced off with Fayette County’s Rodney Woodson in the opening round Saturday night, before taking down the 6-foot-6, 355 -pound Josh “The Giant” Sluss in the semifinals. Long's mother Marcia Williams Long won the women’s lightweight division in 1994 and 1996. His sister, Marissa, took home the same championship a year ago.
n It was not a successful defense for Robby Belcher. The 2013 Middleweight champion was defeated Saturday night by Tyler Robinson of Beckley by judges decision. Robinson’s run to the championship was ended however, as Justin Clark defeated him in the final.
n The ladies division had its share of fireworks, when Nikki Greene of Crab Orchard took on Fayetteville High School standout Avina Sedlock. The two lightweights brought the Convention Center to its feet, going three rounds of back-and-forth action. Greene was victorious via a split decision.
n While the boxers inside the ring were enough to keep the attention of the thousands in attendance, there were several from outside the sport at ringside. Woodrow Wilson hall of famer and current Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Doug Legursky took in the fights as the guest of honor of promoter Jerry Thomas. The History Channel's Mike Ross from the television show “Appalachian Outlaws” was there singing autographs.
n A pair of boxing legends were in the house Saturday night to witness the next generation of fighters. Former IBC middleweight champion Billy Fox joined former WBF light middleweight champion Tommy Small at ringside.
n There was no kryptonite on hand for “Superman” Casey Sadler. The MacArthur man with the hard punch defeated both Pete Graham and Derek “Hardcore” Harvey on his way to winning the black championship jacket in the light heavyweight division.
n Other Toughman and Toughwoman champions were Candie Benedict (Women’s light heavyweight), Virginia Goodwin (women’s heavyweight) and Devon Steele (mens lightweight).