Jeremy Wray claimed the Light Heavyweight title at the Beckley WV Toughman Contest with a first round knockout of Kevin Goodson on Saturday. The last time the 38-year-old local business owner, who is a co-owner of Wray Bros. Mobile Homes, stepped into a boxing ring at a Toughman Contest he was in his early 20s and did it on a whim.
According to Wray, that experience shook his confidence as a boxer and while he participated in Grappling Sports until a severe back injury in 2011 took him out of the fighting world completely, he never thought he would get back into a boxing ring.
“Honestly, I’ve always been scared to fight after that first one,” said Wray.
A year and a half ago that all changed. Having healed from his back injury enough to participate in sports again, Wray reached out to former grappling partner whose brother boxes and created a small gym in a building he owned for other local boxers to train.
“A lot of people don’t even know we box around here,” said Wray.
Wray started training with other boxers from the area and eventually those boxers talked him into trying the Toughman Contest again. He had planned to compete in the Parkersburg, W.Va. and Huntington, W.Va. fights, but another back injury the end of 2017 stalled that plan.
“I healed up a little bit and got back to training and ended up signing up for this one in Beckley,” said Wray.
Fighting in one round on Friday night and three rounds on Saturday, Wray won three of the rounds by knockout and one by decision. The final fight, he knocked his opponent out in the first round to claim the champion title, Toughman jacket and $1,000 prize.
Wray plans to continue training, which he does nearly every day at the Craycraft Boxing Club that recently opened in the Kanauga area.
He wasn’t alone in representing Gallia County at the Beckley Contest. Also competing were Tre Craycraft, Abby Campbell and Harley Watson. Both Craycraft and Campbell took Runner Up in their weight classes. Craycraft, Campbell and another local boxer, Noah Sias, have all claimed the champion title in recent Toughman Contests.
Wray, who says going Pro is not out of the question in the future, credits his training partners, Ben Schlater, Tim Howell, Larry Craycraft, as well as, Tre Craycraft, Campbell, Watson and Sias with helping him boost his confidence to step back into the ring.
“We have a really strong gym and we all work really hard,” said Wray.
Wray lives in Gallipolis with his wife Amanda and three children.
For more information about the Craycraft Boxing Club, 753 State Route 7 North, Gallipolis, call (740) 339-0521 or (907) 690-0947.
Posts with the other local fighters who competed during one of their round wins: