The haymakers will be flying once again at 7 p.m. Friday at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall as another roughhouse boxing season gets underway.
Promoter Bob Haag, of Big H Promotions, expects another sellout which has become commonplace with the Southeast event.
"I want everybody to know that the first Friday of every month is Roughhouse Friday." Haag said. "It should make it easier for people to plan ahead. I'm expecting a very exciting boxing season -- even better than last year. Everything is totally positive."
The first main event of the season will feature Southeast heavyweight champion Russ Stevens, a crowd favorite who sports a perfect 7-0 record in roughhouse competition. Stevens will fight Ketchikan's Gabe "Steel" Duckworth (4-1), who is making a jump from middleweight just to fight Stevens.
"Everybody shoots to knock off the top guy," Stevens said, who is the only undefeated boxer in the Southeast with more than one decision. "I expect a good fight. He's got some skills. He does a little showboating, but it's probably not a good idea to go that road with me."
Duckworth's only loss came at the hands of Victor Littlefield of Sitka in a Southeast Showdown middleweight match on April 13.
"I'm always ready and I never feared a man," Duckworth said. "I lost my unblemished record to Littlefield and now I don't want to see anyone with an undefeated record. I can't compete with his power, but I'm going to do something."
Friday's 'semi' main event features Duckworth's father, Jack "The Jackhammer" Duckworth (4-1), who will fight Sitka's Matthew "The Blonde Bomber" Coppick (3-2) in a middleweight match.
Jack Duckworth's only loss in roughhouse competition came last year in the Southeast Showdown against eventual lightweight champion J.R. Diamond. Coppick made it to the championship fight of last year's Showdown before losing a close fight to Littlefield.
"It's a good fight for me," Jack Duckworth said. "If I win, I might go back down to lightweight. But I've been sicker than a dog this month. I've been training, but my stamina is real low. I can feel the cosmic forces lining up for something big."
"It should be a good match," Littlefield said who trains Coppick. "He (Coppick) beat me up pretty good last year in the Showdown. I don't have a rivalry with Ketchikan, but the Duckworths' sportsmanship is just horrible. I'd be looking for Matt to knock him out."
Littlefield, the two-time Southeast middleweight champion announced his retirement at the conclusion last year's Southeast Showdown, but will remain on the roughhouse scene to work with boxers from Sitka.
"I'm still working out with these guys," Littlefield said. "It's just not the same as when I was 20 or 21. It was fun while it lasted, but 28 is just a little old."
Both the main event and the semi-main event will be conducted in three, two-minute rounds, making the matches twice as long as usual. Several other matches will be fought Friday night with most boxers getting matched up just prior to fighting.
With roughhouse boxing entering its third season, several southeast boxers have accumulated five, six and even more fights, giving Haag his first chance to rank the boxers.
"With the schedule we have here, it usually takes five to eight fights a year to really get it going," Haag said. "I think we haven't found the toughest guys in Juneau yet."
In last year's Southeast Showdown, the final event of the season, all three champions in their respective weight division repeated as champions.
Diamond won by disqualification over Ketchikan's Tyson Duckworth. Duckworth hit Diamond with a hard punch well after a break was called by referee Ray Lee, forcing Lee to call Duckworth out.
Littlefield ended his boxing career with a middleweight victory over Coppick and Stevens fought off Ketchikan's Thomas "Heavy Hands" Ferry for his second-straight title.
This biggest change boxing fans will notice from last year will be a new boxing ring. Juneau's amateur boxing club will no longer be incorporated with the roughhouse boxing, so the clubs' ring will no longer be available.
"I'm bringing a new ring from Anchorage," Haag said. "It was donated to the boxing club in Anchorage back in the 60s. Any notable fighter that has ever fought in Alaska -- George Foreman, Jerry Cooney, Hector Camacho, Greg Haugen -- has fought in that ring."
Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $20 for general admission and $30 for ringside seating and can be purchased at Marlintini's Lounge and the ANB Hall Pulltap shop.
Jeff Kasper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Big H Ratings
Here are the Southeast Rankings in roughhouse boxing, as compiled by Bob Haag of Big H Productions.
Lightweights -- 1. J.R. Diamond (7-1), Juneau; 2. Tyson Duckworth (4-1), Ketchikan; 3. Jack Duckworth (4-1), Ketchikan; 4. Sean Demello (3-2), Juneau; 5. Elijah Sheakley (1-1), Hoonah.
Middleweights -- 1. Victor Littlefield (6-1), Sitka; 2. Gabe Duckworth (4-1), Ketchikan; 3. Matthew Coppick (3-2), Sitka; 4. Scott Webster (2-1), Juneau; 5. Daniel Fink (1-2), Juneau.
Heavyweights -- 1. Russ Stevens (7-0), Juneau; 2. Thomas Ferry (4-2), Ketchikan; 3. Jess McCallon (1-0), Juneau; 4. Ernie Ackerman (1-1), Juneau; 5. Patrick Faggs (1-1), Juneau.
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