Looking for a fight?
If so, the Myrtle Beach Convention Center is the place to be this weekend.
Chris Smith, a West Virginia-based promoter, is bringing one of his signature events, the Rough N Rowdy Brawl, to Myrtle Beach for bouts Friday and Saturday night.
However, there’s one distinct rule: No pros allowed.
The event, beginning at 7:30 p.m. each night, will showcase local amateur fighters aged 18-35 who live within a 50-mile radius in a fast-paced boxing event that rewards up to $10,000 in total prize money.
Smith said more than 600 fighters have attempted to sign up; however, only 350 met the age and distance requirements and he said the event will be limited to around 200 or so fighters.
“Everybody just wants to come and fight in Myrtle Beach. It’s like the mini Vegas,” said Smith, a former fighter himself. “Everybody wants to come here. They’re used to coming here for vacations, so everybody wants to come here and fight.”
We really like it. It’s gone over really well. We’ve had a huge response. We’re just really excited about it. Everybody’s so nice in the area. They’ve made us feel like it’s our home already. We feel really at home in South Carolina. The commission’s real pleasant to work with. We’re just really excited to come down and have a great show this weekend, and I just know it’s going to be an awesome show.
There will be four weight divisions each for men and women – 130-152 pounds, 153-175, 176-199 and 200-400 – and the winner will be awarded $1,000 while the runner-up nets $500. There will also be a ring girl bikini contest in which the winner is awarded $1,000 and the runner-up $500.
Smith said there will be 14 fights going on per hour and it will be a fast-paced event with no intermissions between bouts.
“It just flies. … There’s never a dull moment,” said Smith, who has been putting on the shows for 21 years, mostly in West Virginia. “There’s something there for everyone and we never have any intermissions, so it’s just straight action.”
Smith said a former NFL player from Andrews is among the entrees, along with bodybuilders, bikers and others. Because no pro fighters are allowed, Smith said viewers will see distinct differences between some of the bouts Friday and Saturday night.
From an entertainment perspective, the crowd just really gets into it because they really like the rivalries.
“Friday night is what I consider the comedy night. They’re going to see everybody that shouldn’t be in it fight,” he said. “And they’re going to throw spinning backs and they’re going to miss and fall and [try] 360s and fall on their butt and throw a punch and miss. It’s all comedy. Some of the guys’ pants will be falling down. I mean, it’s just more comedy on Fright night.
“And then the serious guys come back Saturday and usually it gets a lot more intense Saturday because you’re watching the brackets play out. You end up watching who’s really got the guts to dig deep and fight three or four times Saturday night to win it all.”
Our favorite show is the Rough N Rowdy because you get all walks of life that compete in it and they only do it usually once a year. It’s kind of an annual event in all the markets we go to. And it’s all local so everybody can appreciate it. It’s this time of the year where there’s not too much to do. Summertime is just too busy with all the vacationers coming in and stuff like that. This time of the year is perfect because everybody knows everybody that will be fighting. They can recognize all of the names.
Smith said his family is fond of Myrtle Beach and may eventually move here, which is part of the reason he wanted to start his venture into the Carolinas at the heart of the Grand Strand. He said that while his events usually net 85 percent of their sales at the door, there’s already been many who have paid ahead of time online, signaling promise from the region.
We like coming to Myrtle Beach all the time. We come down all the time. We said, hey, why don’t we try a show in Myrtle Beach? I think it would go well. So we decided to try it out.
“I think we’re ready to make a move and get it blown up in other parts of the Carolinas,” said Smith, who also puts on some Ruckus in the Cage MMA fights annually. “We’re really excited to start with Myrtle Beach and see what happens.”
While he said some events in West Virginia wind up with seating for about 10,000 over two nights, the expected seating capacity for this week is 3,500 per night.
He believes many of those who wind up filling the seats as spectators will walk away with a similar response.
“What the impression they’re going to get after they see this is … they’re going to say ‘Oh my God, I could do this. I could be the guy kicking everybody’s tail next year,’ ” Smith said. “It’s really everybody that comes they all get the impression.”
If you go
What: Rough N Rowdy Brawl amateur boxing event
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Myrtle Beach Convention Center
Tickets: General admission $15 ($20 after Thursday); 12 and younger $5; ringside reserved $25-$30
Rules: Available at boxingcontest.com