Ex-champ making comeback

Mark Pawlak

There were lightning quick and thunderous punches thrown in State Gym Tuesday as the ISU boxing club trained.

The nearly 20 members of the club were able to train with and learn from the dynamite punches of former world heavyweight champion Tony Tubbs.

Nicknamed TNT, Tubbs is in Ames training in preparation for his comeback to the ring.

Tubbs came in contact with ISU head coach Terry Dowd through some mutual friends.

“He needed a place to work out,” Dowd said. “He’s got a fight coming up, and I guess he had heard of me somewhere.”

The former champ will be making his comeback, after a three-year layoff, Feb. 8 in Puerto Rico against an opponent to be determined.

“We decided to come to this gym and look if there were some students we could help out,” Tubbs said. “There are a lot of students here that need a lot of work, and I figured I can give back.”

Tubbs hasn’t had to search hard to get his edge back.

“The basics are still there,” he said. “A lot of times, fighting is more mentality than muscle anyway, so you have to use your ring experience.”

The experience of being able to learn from a champion is something that is not lost on the club’s members.

“We’re going to learn a lot from seeing somebody that is so nationally renowned and such a good boxer,” said Brett Bumgarner, junior in business.

Tubbs is confident that his comeback will be successful.

“I know if George Foreman can make a comeback at the age of 44, [I can]. I’m 42, but I’m a good 42. I’ve been in the ring with six world champions. My record when I left the ring was 58-4,” Tubbs said.

In April 1985, Tubbs stepped in the spotlight when he earned the WBA Heavyweight Championship by winning a 15-round decision over Greg Page.

His title reign was short. In January 1986, Tubbs was defeated by Tim Witherspoon in his first title-defending bout.

Tubbs got another chance at the title in 1988, when he faced Mike Tyson, but was knocked out in the second round.