Like father, like son.
That’s what boxer Bobby Thomas Jr. will aim for when he faces Justin Howes for the West Virginia State Cruiserweight Championship Saturday, a title his father Bobby Thomas Sr. held from1986-88.
The Thomas Jr.-Howes fight highlights the card as part of the second Hard Knocks Fighting Championship today and Saturday at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center. Both nights’ activity will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Thomas Jr., 29, of Oak Hill said he still recalls his father’s reign as cruiserweight champ.
“I remember when he won the title; I remember when he lost the title,” Thomas Jr. said.
From a young age, Thomas Jr. spent time watching his father in the ring.
“I grew up in the gym,” Thomas Jr. said. “I was in there ever since I’ve been walking pretty much. He’s always helped me. He never really wanted me to fight. He didn’t push me to fight. That’s just something I wanted to do.”
Thomas Jr., 6-foot-0, 200 pounds, won two toughman competitions after turning 18 and has established a 5-1 record with four knockouts after turning professional in 2007.
Through it all, his father has been there to guide his career.
Thomas Sr. fought as a left-handed boxer, but he had different intentions for his son.
“He turned me right-handed really,” Thomas Jr. said. “I throw baseball with my left hand. I write right-handed. I kick with my right foot. It’s all backwards really. I can box either way, too.”
Many boxers refuse to fight a lefty and that cost Thomas Sr. a fight with George Foreman, when he was beginning his first comeback in the late ’80s, Thomas Jr. said.
Jerry Thomas, the fight’s promoter and president of West Virginia Sports Promotions Inc., said besides the differences of left and right, the father-son combo has many resemblances in the ring.
“Style wise and size wise, they’re very, very close, meaning Bob Sr., when he fought, he was about the same height and weight, had similar skills,” Thomas said. “They remind me a lot, their styles, very similar. Bobby Jr. of course has learned a lot being around his father and being around the gym.
“I actually remember seeing Bobby Jr. at the age of about 3 in the boxing gym watching his dad work out. I remember looking over one day and he was hitting the heavy bag or trying to hit the heavy bag. Of course it was a little bit too tall for him. He’s really been around it a long time. It’s as they say: It’s in his blood.”
Besides fighting for family honor and the title, Thomas Jr. is trying to defeat Howes (12-0, 10 KO), who represents Thomas Jr.’s lone loss of his professional career.
“I shouldn’t have even took the fight,” Thomas Jr. said of the fight that led to his loss. “My hand was already messed up.
“It felt like it broke off in my glove in the second round and I didn’t come back out in the third round.”
That was last year. Now, Thomas Jr. said he’s in the best shape of his life and he has two goals for Saturday: “To redeem my loss and (win) the West Virginia Cruiserweight title.”
Thomas Jr. and Howes, 6-3, 200 pounds, will face off in a 10-round bout Saturday.
Advance ticket sales are encouraged, but tickets remain on sale at the convention center. To charge tickets by phone, call 1-888-695-0888. Ticket prices are $15 general admission, $20 reserved and $30 for gold ringside. In addition to the ticket price, a $2/ticket facility fee will be charged.
— E-mail: nbrockman@ register-herald.com
Oak Hill native ready for Hard Knocks event
Like father, like son.
- Latest Sports
Bradshaw or the field?
If a betting window were set up on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs for the 81st West Virginia Open Championship, which begins at 8 a.m. this morning, the most popular wager would probably be David Bradshaw against the field.
Holgorsen: WVU getting comfortable in new league
Dana Holgorsen remembers the glory days of West Virginia University football — the ones that included conference championships and BCS bowl wins. In fact, he was part of one of those, leading the Mountaineers to a Big East championship and an Orange Bowl victory in his first season as head coach in 2011.
Home sweet home away from home
When Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was handed a copy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch Sunday, his eyes lit up like a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on a cold December night.
Miners take series with Paints
The way the West Virginia Miners see it, they don’t have the luxury of planning for tomorrow.
Post 32 rips Parkersburg 19-3 in American Legion tournament
The double play in baseball is said to be a pitcher’s best friend. If that is the case, an 11-run inning by the offense is a very close second.
Former Mountaineer standout Gaddis making career in MLS
Philadelphia Union defender Ray Gaddis may consider Indianapolis his hometown, but make no mistake about it, the Mountain State will always have a place in his heart.
WVU's Fleming signs with Yankees
Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
WVU to kickoff 2018 season against Tennessee in Charlotte
The Charlotte Sports Foundation (CSF) announced Tuesday morning that it has secured a regular season college football game for the city of Charlotte pitting the University of Tennessee against West Virginia University.
Beamer sees turnaround for Hokies
Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer painted a rosy picture of the Hokies’ prospects during Monday’s Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff press conference in Greensboro, N.C.
Picnic with the Saints
The New Orleans Saints are coming to town, and fans will have the chance to share in the excitement at Picnic with the Saints this Saturday at the AdvoCare Sports Performance Center at The Greenbrier. INCLUDES UPDATED PRACTICE SCHEDULE.
- More Latest Sports Headlines
- Bradshaw or the field?