For the first time in Washington County Fair history, two female boxers entered the American Legion Boxing Arena to duke it out.
Tami Fullmer, 20, of Murray, and Joanna Gurule, 14, of LaVerkin, Washington County, looked nervous but proud as they geared up before the fight in Hurricane."I reserve the right to change my mind," Fullmer said. "But I think it's kind of cool; kind of nice."
Fullmer, who shares the name but is no relation to Utah boxing giant Gene Fullmer, said she sparred for about six months because she liked the exercise. She decided to put what she learned into practice Friday night.
"I've only sparred with a girl a couple of times," Fullmer said. "It's not a whole lot different. Guys are more reluctant to hit a girl. I don't think they hit as hard."
Gurule, who has never boxed before, just wanted to try something new.
Hughes said he has tried to get two female boxers in the ring for a long time.
Boxing between females isn't the equivalent of mud wrestling or a cat fight. These two fighters were no less serious than their male counterparts.
Gurule, dressed in a "No Fear" T-shirt, really got into the spirit when Hughes dressed her in protective pads and started sparring.
She said she would be thinking only one thing in the ring: "Kick her butt."
"I'll be watching what she's doing, hitting her as hard as I can and staying away from her hands," Fullmer said.
Gurule and Fullmer weren't the only ones to enter the ring for the first time Friday.
"It's something I've never done, not in a ring," Adam Rhoades said. "It's for fun. It's legal to beat the hell out of someone."
The best part about boxing? "Watching someone go down," Rhoades said.
Rhoades and his opponent, Ricky Burris, 19, of Palm Springs, Calif., agreed being hit was the worst. They just couldn't decide on a location.
"Taking it in the face," Rhoades said.
Burris said low blows are actually worse.
"We'll keep it above the belt," Rhoades said.
It's a rule Burris, a veteran boxer, knows well. He was named Outstanding Boxer in 1990 and was the Utah Summer Games champion in Cedar City.
His secret is strategy.
"I'll feel him out first," Burris said. "I need to see if he leaves himself open so I can land punches and put together enough points to win the fight."
There are only three rounds during each match, and boxers are rated on a 10-point system, Burris said. The fighter who lands the most punches receives a score of 10 at the end of the round.