Last weekend, the Golden Eagles wrapped up Homecoming weekend with a 27-26 win over Southeast Missouri. This coming Thursday night, Tech junior, Tyler “Hercules” Howard, will have a homecoming of his own as he squares off with Tim Hill in the ring at Tech’s Hyder-Burks Agricultural Pavilion.
Howard, 20, is a business administration major from Crossville, Tenn. What sets him apart from his classmates, however, is that he is a professional boxer. At 5-0 with three knockouts, Howard looks to continue his undefeated streak to the top of the ranks. The road to the top travels through Cookeville for a title fight in the six-card “Throwdown Thursday” boxing event.
Although he’s still considered a prospect, it’s safe to say Howard is not lacking in confidence against his opponent in the main event.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m invincible or I’m Superman. I’m not,” said Howard. “All I’m saying is I train harder than him. I’m better than him. If I go in there and execute the way I’m supposed to, it will be an easy night for me.”
Howard takes on veteran Tim Hill, who Howard says has fought in over 30 professional fights. With as much experience in fighting against young prospects as Hill has, Howard says he has plenty of research on his upcoming opponent.
“I’ve watched him on YouTube before,” said Howard. “I know he’s going to be in there throwing a crazy overhand right, and I already know what I’m going to do to counter it. I’ll be thinking about it the whole time.”
The fight is being promoted by long time boxing promoter Brian Young of Prize Fight Boxing. Young, who promoted the 2002 Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson heavyweight championship, says Howard has all the intangibles necessary in becoming a champion one day.
“Boxing is just another day at the office for Tyler,” said Young. “He says he’s not going to stop until he wins a world title, and quite frankly, at my age at 50 years old, I would never have signed a kid unless I thought he could win a world title. He’s still in the learning process, but he has that potential.”
Fighting most of his matches in Mississippi, Thursday’s match will be the first time the boxer has fought in his college town. In fact, it will likely be the first time in many years that an event of its kind has taken place in Cookeville.
Howard says while boxing is an individual sport, he feeds off support from others.
“I’m going to go in there 100 percent, put on a show for everybody and then hopefully make some good friends and get a bunch of supporters and fans, so if five years from now when I’m fighting on HBO for a world title, they’ll be able to say, “Hey, I met that guy. I watched him fight in person.’”
“Throwdown Thursday” will take place on Nov. 20 at the Hyder-Burks Pavilion. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with fights squaring off at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets will be sold for $15 with VIP tickets available for $20.
There will be a main event weigh-in at the Fit Wednesday before the fight at 5 p.m. The event will be open to the public.