Knockout! Fight Night rocks the Swiftel Center: blood, sweat and “Joe Dirt”

Brian Kimmes

Brian Kimmes

“kill him!”

“make him bleed!”

“knock him out!”

And 30 fighters did their best, bashing and swinging toward the Fight Night champion’s belt and prize money at the Swiftel Center in Brookings Thursday, Sept. 23.

There, about 500 watched as amateur fighters, both men and women, boxed for blood, sweat and glory.

The music set the mood-Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” blared in the background as the fighters laced up for the first bout.

The crowd was hyped from the start, but the first big roar from the crowd came when first blood was drawn in the sixth match. The referee had to stop the fight because the fighter’s nose was in such bad shape.

The crowd was really pumped for the women’s matches, and the two bouts got the most noise, with people on their feet yelling and screaming for the female fighters.

Eventual men’s heavyweight champion Eric DeWaard delivered the night’s only true knockout. With one powerful blow he sent his opponent tumbling to the canvas. The crowd erupted and gave DeWaard the night’s biggest ovation.

But DeWaard was not the fan favorite of the evening–that honor goes to a fighter the crowd dubbed “Joe Dirt.”

Joe Dirt got his nickname based on his ring attire: long hair, ripped jeans and Timberland boots.

The look must’ve reminded fans of the title character played by David Spade in the movie Joe Dirt. But the fans didn’t just love his look; they loved his fighting style. When the bell rang, “Joe” would bolt out of his corner, make a beeline for his opponent and start throwing punches. He had a look and an aggressive style that the fans loved.

The action in all the fights was fast and furious. Boxing form was thrown out the window in favor of punching as many times as humanly possib le. Champion Stephanie Bliss’strategy was to just get out of the way.

“Run away from her, not let her hit me,” she says.

Men’s middleweight runner-up Tyson Humphrey, Canistota, had a little different strategy. “I just attacked the guy and tried to keep him on the move and to move at him,” he says.

Inexperience was the theme of the night. Heavyweight champion Eric DeWaard, a sophomore agricultural business major from Armour, didn’t have any boxing experience. “I had never boxed before, so I didn’t have much of a strategy. I’ve watched a lot of boxing on TV,” he says.

Bliss had also never boxed before. Humphrey had never done formal boxing, but has boxed with afriend. “I have boxed off and on at parties and stuff,” he says.

Humphrey and DeWaard didn’t give think they’d win at Fight Night.

“Not really much of a chance, I thought I would do okay,” says Humphrey.

Dewaard says his win in the first round gave him confidence. “I came here to have fun. After the first round I figured I had a shot. I didn’t really think I would win.”

There were mixed reactions about doing it again though. “It was a fun time and I think I’ll be back” says Humphrey. Bliss took the opposite stance. “I had a lot of fun. I would never do it again,” she says.

“Tyson will have a chance to box again in Novemberh. Knockout Events’ referee and owner Shane Swartz says. “Brookings is a great town.”

Fight Night is coming back to Brookings on November 5.

For more Fight Night photos and for results, click on the featured link under Juice Cover Story.

#1.885916:2725992097.jpg:juicecover.jpg::Jerry Smith