It is fight night at Total Body Gym in Greensboro. It is also Barbara Ewing's first try as a fight promoter.
"I have had my teeth shattered," says Ewing. "They may punch on me a little, they may kick me a little, and they look at me and say, 'You're not timid. I'm not that little timid girl.'"
In fact, Ewing's business partner Rock Hinson describes her as a "den mother" to the young fighters.
With Jeanette King of the N.C Boxing Commission in her corner, Ewing has some company in the ring.
The fighters come for two main reasons; to see how tough the Toughman competition really is and for the money.
"Pretty much anyone can enter this kind of thing," says fighter Chad Boykin. "And they're real frequent. Plus you got a chance of getting paid."
Barbara Ewing hopes this will be good for her gym business.
"Without fighters, she wouldn't have a livelihood," says referee Bill Clancy. "She really does kind of have a motherly charm to her when it comes to guys who come to fight. She knows that a lot of these guys are just kids out to make money."
Fights are generally not pretty. State law allows fighters to win only three Toughman competitions in a year or a total of five in five years. It is for amateurs only.
Fighters do need to pass a physical and a Breathalyzer. They pay $25 to give and take a pounding. The grand prize is about $500.
"A fighter is focused, he has to be, somewhat, in a certain mood in order to go into that ring. So we respect each other, and we respect that space," says Ewing.
Barbara Ewing will not make money off this event, but she is scoring points with the Boxing Commission and with the fighters.
This tough woman is getting the experience she needs to present a bigger and better Toughman competition. Ewing says she is already planning her second Toughman amateur boxing competition.
She is also leading the way for more women to step into the boxing world. Last year, the N.C. Boxing Commission certified two female referees in a class of 12. This year there are six in a class of 26. What did you think of this story?Send us feedback
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