By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
Jarrod Wyatt loves the rush he gets when he enters the ring, be it for boxing, mixed martial arts, or a tough man competition.
"I want to fight more than anything else," the 23-year old Crescent City resident said. "I'm a thrill seeker. If it's scary, I want to try it."
Last Saturday, Wyatt and several other local residents competed in the SoYouWannaFight.com tough man event at the Char-Ae- Heights Casino in Trinidad.
Wyatt won first place in the heavyweight competition. Super heavyweight Jesse Quarles won his first fight, but was also fighting a flu and was too sick to continue his next match. Chadwick Poole fought in the heavyweight division and won his first match, but broke his knuckles during the next match and could not go on.
The fighters also do boxing or mixed martial arts, which is known in some circles as Ultimate Fighting competitions.
The fighters and the owners of Del Norte Health and Fitness, which is set to open to the public next month, and the Del Norte Boxing club said sports like this are a great way for community members to have a positive outlet and stay fit.
Ron Otremba, co-owner of Del Norte Health and Fitness, also trains boxers and helped the local participants during the tough man event. The numerous fighting disciplines like boxing and mixed martial arts are becoming quite popular in the community, he said.
"It gives the young people something to do," Otremba said. "It teaches them self-discipline."
Ralph Murphy, co-owner of Del Norte Boxing, said his club gives these fighters a place to train and hone their myriad of fighting disciplines.
"It gives them something different to do," he said.
With tough man events, the rules are quite different than regular boxing. Instead of two to three-minute rounds, the matches only go up to two rounds of one minute each, and are much more quick and intense, with the fighters working quickly to knock their opponent out many times in a quick and brutal fashion. Bloody noses and other injuries are common.
Wyatt, who said he never tried to fight in a tough man event before last week, said he enjoyed the competition and the fans cheering the fighters on. Things got a little bit crazy at one point in a match last weekend, when he was hit by a punch. He said he just saw stars and black, but he regained his composure and was able to hit back, causing his opponent to go down.
Quarles said he has done mixed martial arts for a while and got into boxing a few years ago when Otremba suggested to him he could do well in the sport.
Quarles enjoys the chance to try different fighting disciplines, and said the tough man experience has been interesting. He said he learned from Otremba that despite the fast pace, it's vital to be calm and to not lose his cool when he's in the ring.
"You want to stay composed," he said. "If you play their game, your letting yourself become open to losing."
Poole, who has been boxing for a few years, said he enjoys the competition and the atmosphere in the tough man competition.
Unlike boxing, where you are likely to only meet one opponent in a night, tough man can offer up to four opponents.
Poole especially enjoys the fans at the matches.
"It's the energy from all the people" he said. "I like that it makes you feel like you have made a lot of people happy."
Poole trains for several hours each day and said that that discipline helps him when he gets in the ring, be it for boxing or tough man.
"If you want to win and be competitive, you have to train," he said.
Wyatt also said constant training is vital to becoming a good fighter. He said he trains intensely everyday.
It also helps to have a core group of fighters to train with. Wyatt said there are about 14 people who meet at Del Norte Boxing and train together. The group calls itself Team Intense,' with the participants doing a number of different fighting disciplines.
In June, a local boxing event is set to take place. It's scheduled for June 23 in Klamath at the Gold Bear Casino.