The Toughest Guy/Gal contest has survived another challenge and now appears certain to happen tonight, like an unavoidable accident.
At the weigh-in and physical examinations at the D.C. Boxing Commission's downtown headquarters lastnight, promoters and commissioners wrestled with a thorny issue that threatened the women's fights, but in the end agreed on a compromise.
D.C. boxing rules ban fighters from competing out of their weight classes.
With only eight women competitors, and possibly fewer with absentations, matchmaking was problematic. The comission agreed to bend the rules to assure that some women's matches are held, although they vowed to allow no outright mismatches.
About 20 men amd six women were on hand at the headquarters in a ninth-floor office building in Chinatown. They came in as fighting amateurs, most with no ring experience. They left as licensed professional boxers in the District of Columbia, in name at least.
Tonight, they will square off in a series of three-round elimination bouts designed to determine in bloody fashion who the Toughest Guy and Toughest Gal in the Nation's Capital are. The fights will begin at 7:30 at the D. c. Armory. Tickets are $10, $15, and $20.
The competition, which has been attended by hype and hyperbole, sprang fully grown from the imagination of Peter Carroll, an Annapolis promoter, and Nat Williams, the only licesened boxing promoter in the District.
It was initially to be a no-holds-barred combination of street fighting, karate, kicking, wrestling and boxing, according to Carroll, who took a large part of the idea from a nationwide Tough Man competition. But the commission has since ruled that boxing rules will apply, all competitors will wear boxing gloves, and the fights will be staffed by professional doctors, judges, referees and handlers.
Nonetheless, it promises to be an evening of singular nonexpertise. Male fighters range in size from 175-pound Don Woullard of Leesburg (I'm gonna win. I don't care about those big boys. If you kill the head, the body got to go.") to 6-foot-6, 295-pound Bruce Adney of Suiland, who doesn't need to talk.
The smallest of the women is 115-pound Gwen Meyer of Arlington, who spent most of the evening wondering how to strike a deal if she winds up having to fight 241-pound April Alm of Annapolis, who can dead-lift 375 pounds.
"We won't let that happen," said Commissioner Bobby Mitchell. "If the final among women is a mismatch, the promoters have agreed to call off the bout and award each finalist $750.
The male fighters are battling for a $1,000 first prize, $750 second. Women are slated for $750 first, $500 second. The men have no weight-class problems since everyone over 175 is a heavyweight.
According to D.C. rules, all fighter will receive an additional $20 a round, the minimum wage for pro boxers here.
This all suits Alm, who figures to win it among the women. "I have to," she said "I've got Christmas presents to buy, the rent, and all the money I owe my parents. It's all spent already."