Rough N’ Rowdy welcomes Thundering Herd

Lifelong friends Jerry Haycraft, sophomore, and Thomas Canterbury, freshman, train in preparation of the Rough N Rowdy boxing competition on Wednesday at the Rec Center.

Zach Wright, Reporter

The Rough N’ Rowdy Brawl, an amateur boxing competition, attracts a unique crowd every year. The Charleston bout will feature two Marshall University students in the upcoming competition.

Marshall students and Charleston natives Jerry “Superbad” Haycraft and Thomas “TNT” Canterbury will be fighting this year.

Haycraft, a sophomore nursing major, said he’s trying to keep his game plan simple and his emotions in check.

“My game plan is to make fighting and fundamentals feel second nature,” Haycraft said. “I Got to keep my head during training and not get mad or do something stupid during fights.”

Training for the brawl is crucial for any athlete. Fundamentals and physical shape is key in high-intensity fighting.

“I’m doing a lot of training, some distance running, and high intensity interval training,” Haycraft said. “The interval training focused on getting my heart rate up rapidly, keeping it at rest for about thirty seconds, then getting it back up to normal without losing any time.”

Canterbury, a freshman math major, fought in the brawl last year. He said his training this year will focus on specific aspects of his physicality, such as improving his strength and endurance.

“I’m doing a lot of weight training to get my strength up, and doing high endurance workouts,” Canterbury said. “Last year in the fight, I noticed I got out of breath and wasn’t in the best shape I could be, so I’m trying to get my endurance up.”

Canterbury said he is incorporating a lot more running into his training this year to increase his fortitude.

“I’m doing long distance running to help improve my endurance,” Canterbury said. “I try to do five mile runs at a time.”

Canterbury said he learned from experience last year, and will use that experience to improve this year.

“I watched some film of me fighting last year, and I noticed I broke some basic fundamentals of fighting,” Canterbury said. “I’m going to really work to get a good foundation on my fundamentals and footwork.”

Both Haycraft and Canterbury are full-time students, and juggling their training schedules with classes has been easier for Canterbury than Haycraft.

“I’m doing a nice job of balancing my classes and training,” Canterbury said. “Most classes, I’m done by 3:15 p.m., so by 5 p.m., I’m in here training.”

Haycraft said his schedule and other circumstances have been a hurdle, but he’s pushing through it.

“It’s difficult to balance my training with classes, and having setbacks with illnesses and other stuff haven’t helped,” Haycraft said. “I’ve had to come back from these things and work harder, and it takes time, but I just have to keep working to get what I need.”

Both Haycraft and Canterbury have been influenced by the area where they were raised, but are mainly doing it to challenge themselves.

“It’s a personal challenge,” Haycraft said. “I’ve always wanted to do it. It’s a tradition where we’re from, and a couple people from our high school have gone through and done really well. I just want to add to the winning tradition and try to come back with a win.”

Canterbury said he’s fighting in the competition to improve on his performance last year, and to prove that he can do it.

“I fought last year, and I did it last year to prove that I could,” Canterbury said. “Everybody always talks about how they could do it, and I thought ‘why not me?’ It turned out well, so I’m trying to come back and improve on my past success.”

Sophomore nursing student, close friend and fellow Charleston native Matt George said he was proud of his friends, and hoping for the best with their fights.

“I’m really excited for my friends, it’s a great thing for them to do outside of school,” George said. “I’m proud they’re putting in work to do something great.”

George said he isn’t surprised his friends are competing in the brawl.

“I’m not surprised they’re fighting at all,” George said. “They do a lot of things like this together.”

Zach Wright can be contacted at [email protected]