Ring of Fire storms into Dobson Arena | VailDaily.com
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Ring of Fire storms into Dobson Arena

Special to the Daily/Bobby TerryRobert Otani, left, and Mark Spoone square off at Friday's weigh in for the Ring of Fire Championship fighting. Spoone just made the 185-pound cutoff, and the two will duke it out in the main event tonight at Dobson Arena.
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VAIL ” Brian Box is not a boxer, nor does he want to be.

“Boxing gloves have too much padding, man, and you can’t throw elbows in boxing,” Box said.

No, but you can, and certainly should throw them in the Ring of Fire Championship fighting.



When Box and 23 other fighters enter the ring at Dobson Arena tonight to battle in the Mixed Martial Arts rules competition, they’ll all be looking for a knockout.

Saturday’s 12-bout card will be Vail’s first glimpse at ultimate fighting, and all the styles of fighting that go along with it.



“We use everything from muy tai, to Brazilian jujuitsu to freestyle wrestling, even a little Japanese jujitsu and some Western boxing,” said Jeff Strickland, who trains Box along with three others competing at his gym in Littleton.

At Friday’s weigh in at The Club in Vail, the fighters sauntered around the bar, waiting.

Tony Fryklund, who made the trip from Las Vegas with three fighters, knows how badly his guys are itching to get into the ring.



“They’ve been holding back, trying not to get cut,” Fryklund said of their training. “Now, they’re ready to go.”

Into the Fire

All of Fryklund’s fighters, along with a handful of others, will be entering the Ring of Fire for the first time.

“Guys will get in there for their first fight and be like, ‘Holy (cow), I didn’t know it was like that,'” Fryklund said.

While the atmosphere will be different, that could prove to help some of the newcomers.

“Once your adrenaline is pumping, you don’t care as much,” said Allan Ryan, who started the sport several months ago. “I’m hoping for a knockout, but who knows?”

The unpredictability makes the sport alluring to the fans, but can be problematic for those in the ring.

“It’s one of the downers for the fighters,” Fryklund said. “You never know. You’ve gotta be prepared.”

And flexible, too.

“Honestly, I just go out there and wing it,” Box said. “If you have a strategy and it (doesn’t work), you’re screwed.”

His trainer agreed.

“Like Mike Tyson said, ‘Everybody’s got a plan till you get hit with the leather. Then, all plans are out the window,'” Strickland said.

Getting to KO

All of the male competitors will be fighting for three three-minute rounds. A knockout or submission wins the bout, although the referee can call the fight on discretion.

“Our fighters are looking to finish off the opponent every second that goes by,” Fryklund said. “They are trying to create openings and capitalize on mistakes. You’ve gotta be aggressive and push.”

The one female bout will be kickboxing rules has three two-minute rounds.

In order to accommodate for the altitude, the normal one-minute rest in between rounds will be extended to a minute-and-a-half.

The first bout will start at 7:30 p.m.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or icropp@vaildaily.com.

Vail, Colorado


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