Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:35PM - 583 Views

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Kyle Lovern

Sports Editor

MADISON – Mingo County native Jason Smith will be fighting for the light-heavyweight championship of West Virginia this Saturday, March 9 at the Madison Civic Center.

The boxing event is the 7th installment of the King of the Coal Fields Boxing series.

Smith, who now lives in Logan, fights under the nickname “Coalfield Cobra” and will take on Morgantown’s Eric Watkins for the title.

“I’ve been boxing since I was 16,” Smith, a former Mingo County deputy sheriff, said. “I started in the Golden Gloves and then entered the Toughman competition.”

“I have always loved boxing,” said Smith. While attending Mingo Christian High School, Smith was a standout basketball player.

Smith, who now works in the coal mines, first turned pro in 2005. Working the “hoot owl” shift underground in the mines, it is hard for him to find time to train. But he works it out and keeps up his rigorous training schedule.

“I had my own business for a while,” Smith, who is now 34 years old, said.

“I want to win this title,” he said. “Then I may have the opportunity to get some big money fights.”

Smith and his wife Missy have a 9-year old daughter, Allison.

Smith was part of a boxing card held at the Williamson Fieldhouse last year. “I hope to fight in Williamson again,” he added.

The state’s light-heavyweight belt has been vacant since 1987 and was last held ironically by the current W. Va. Athletic Commissioner Steve Allred, a Boone County native. “Many people feel this will be the fight of the year in WV as it features 2 of the top pound for pound fighters in the state,” his promoter said.

The event will feature 10 professional bouts and a hand full of amateur contests. Nearly all of the fighters are from the southern West Virginia area. Featured local fighters such as Williamson area native Greg Maynard, Lenore’s Warren Browning, Madison’s Zack Kuhn, Austin Marcum, Jon Hill, Josh Stepp, Matt Garretson and Don Pennington are on the boxing card. The bouts are expected to draw a huge crowd and pack the house at the Madison Civic Center.

“Boxing has been revitalized lately in our state,” said the promoter. “Over the past couple years, especially in the coalfields, pro boxing had been non-existent. “

The King of the Coalfield series has already held events in Logan, Madison, Charleston, and Williamson. They have an event scheduled for Bluefield in April.

This event is sponsored by Hill Chiropractic, Cook and Cook Law Firm, Boone Memorial Hospital, and Quality Metal Roofing. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance by calling 304-785-9124. The Doors open at 6pm and the fights start at 7.

(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to klovern@civtasmedia.com)

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