Preparing to fight


By Anthony Cloud - [email protected]



Anthony Cloud|Daily News J-Quan Rayford works the heavy bag during a training session of Friday. He is one of eight boxers participating in the July 18 event in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.


The Fist of Fire boxing team is scheduled to be in action in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on July 18. The event will have a tournament format with several different weight classes. The divisions will range from 75 pounds to 200-plus.

“We’re pretty much ready to go,” said trainer Owen Beck. “We’ve got fighters from 95 pounds to super heavyweight.”

Local fighters participating in the event include: Cole Eagle (95 pounds), Hailey Eagle (112 pounds/flyweight), Clayton Eagle (125 pounds/featherweight), Steven Adam Smith (132 pounds/lightweight), Eddie Gilbert (141/light welterweight), J-Quan Rayford (152 pounds/welterweight), Thomas King (200-plus/super heavyweight) and Greg Chavies (200-plus/super heavyweight).

“It’s just amazing to see the accomplishments that we have now because we have fighters in different weight categories, and that’s a plus,” said Beck.

Beck said there are teams from several areas who will be participating in the event. This includes teams from Oak Ridge, Knoxville, Nashville, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. There are supposed to be teams coming from Georgia and West Virginia as well.

“We have a good thing going on here,” said Beck. “We’re looking for a big match.”

The fighters have been preparing for the event for several weeks. Beck said they are currently training twice a day.

Fighters come in at 6 a.m. to run and go through strength and conditioning drills. They then come back in the afternoon to work on the bags and mitts and spar against each other. Beck said they are starting to have light days now that the event is approaching.

“I’ve got to make sure their muscles are building back, and they are able to go out there and perform,” said the trainer.

Beck showed appreciation to all of the sponsors who have helped the boxing team. He said all eight fighters participating on July 18 officially have sponsors.

“We’ve got all kinds of people who are putting money in to get these boxers proper equipment and proper fighting gear to go to the competition and look like a real boxing team,” said Beck.

He said it means a lot to have people supporting the fighters.

“It means a lot to me for them,” said Beck. “These kids deserve a chance to represent their city and also represent their country.”

There is also a local boxing event planned for September. Beck said 15 local fighters are scheduled to participate. He is projecting close to 80 participants to take part in the event.

Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN

Anthony Cloud|Daily News J-Quan Rayford works the heavy bag during a training session of Friday. He is one of eight boxers participating in the July 18 event in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
http://middlesborodailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/web1_J-Quan-Rayford1.jpgAnthony Cloud|Daily News J-Quan Rayford works the heavy bag during a training session of Friday. He is one of eight boxers participating in the July 18 event in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

By Anthony Cloud

[email protected]

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