CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This weekend's Rough N' Rowdy Brawl at the Civic Center will feature one boxer who is also a culinary student hoping to serve up a little classic American treat — the knuckle sandwich.
Chris Bowen of Cross Lanes isn't new to the Rough N' Rowdy Brawl. In fact, the heavyweight has fought in two events prior to this weekend.
However, it's been about seven years since the fighter, aptly dubbed "Big Daddy," has stepped inside the ring at the Civic Center.
"Me and my ex split up, and I thought it was time to get back into fighting again," Bowen said.
This past May, Bowen began training for the upcoming event at the local Dawg House Gym. He says competition, not money, is his motivation.
"I just want the Rough N' Rowdy championship," he said. "And I love fighting in Charleston and entertaining the people."
Family pride is another reason. His father, "Big" Ben Bowen, fought in numerous boxing matches, including Golden Glove competitions in the 1970s and Rough N' Rowdy Brawls later, Bowen said.
Bowen's father squared off against the World's Strongest Man, Phil Pfister, in a brawl that left both combatants battered and bloodied, recalled Chris Smith, Rough N' Rowdy promoter.
"Pfister had to get stitches in his face, and Bowen had blood in his urine from the hard kidney shots he took," Smith said. "It was a war."
But for all of Ben Bowen's blood, sweat and tears, he never had the opportunity to bring home the Rough N' Rowdy championship, Smith said.
"Every time my dad fought, he got hurt," Chris Bowen said. "And the two times I fought before, I got hurt and couldn't continue, too.
"So now seems like it's a good time to come back and win one for me and my dad."
But that will be no easy task. Smith estimated 100 fighters would arrive at the Civic Center on Friday to test their mettle in the ring.
Bowen will be competing against numerous other fighters in the 185- to 400-pound heavyweight class. The 6-foot Bowen is the heaviest of the heavyweights listed on the Brawl's website thus far, tipping the scales at 370 pounds.
The next heaviest man on the site is 6-foot, 340-pound Jared Garnes, 25, of Liberty.
Bowen isn't just bulk, Smith said.
"He's a beast that's solid muscle," he said. "It looks like he doesn't have an ounce of fat on him."
Bowen has been training steadily at the Dawg House Gym every day since he decided to re-enter the ring.
This is no easy task for Bowen, who is studying the culinary arts at Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington.