It took three years to come to fruition, but tonight local roughhouse boxing fans will have the opportunity to see two of Southeast Alaska's better middleweight fighters trade blows.
Reigning Southeast Showdown middleweight champion Matthew "The Goat" Coppick of Sitka will face Ketchikan's Gabe "Steel" Duckworth in tonight's main event at this month's Roughhouse Friday boxing show. Doors open at 6 p.m. and fights start at 7:30 p.m. at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.
"This is not an ordinary Roughhouse Friday," said event promoter Bob Haag, who runs Anchorage-based Big H Promotions. "We've got eight fighters from Ketchikan and three from Sitka. I've been trying to get this bout together for three years. These are two of the toughest 190-pounders in the state of Alaska. It'll be a great card."
Coppick, who usually weighs between 175 and 190, won last year's Southeast Showdown and went on to finish second in the state championship bouts in Anchorage. Duckworth, who usually weighs between 185 and 215, has been known to move up a weight class and two years ago he claimed a decision over three-time Southeast Showdown heavyweight champion Russ "Dirt" Stevens. Haag said Duckworth's weight has been capped at 195 pounds for this fight.
"There's not a lot of love lost between them," Haag said. "They've had a couple of times when they've been screaming at each other. I'm forecasting a battle in the main event."
The Coppick-Duckworth bout has been tried a couple of times before, but Duckworth pulled out of a fight two years ago in Juneau in a dispute with Haag over Southeast rankings, and Coppick pulled out of a bout in Ketchikan. Both fighters were supposed to arrive in town on Thursday for weigh-ins that night.
"The weather's cooperating and all the planes are landing," said Haag, who had a main event weathered out in December. "I'm bringing all the fighters in a day early and I told them I'd pay for the hotel rooms."
Most of the card's other bouts won't be announced until tonight, but Haag said two other good ones are set. One bout will pit Juneau's Rudy Vonda against Southeast Showdown lightweight champion Scott "Kid Roo" Robinson of Sitka. The other is a rematch from January's Roughhouse Friday show, when middleweights Mike "The Kazmanian Rebel" Kaznakoff earned a decision over Randy Edenshaw after both fighters knocked each other down a couple of times.
Haag said this will be one of the fuller Roughhouse Friday cards, with about 12-13 fights expected, so he plans to cut down on some of his between-fight giveaways. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $30 for ringside tables.