By KEVIN JAKAHI
Tribune-Herald sports writer
When promoter Wally Carvalho Jr. starts talking about the second season of the Toughman Hawaii Tournament of Champions, his excitement is hard to miss.
It’s as if an excitement bug bit him hard. His arms start waving, his head keeps moving, and his feet are constantly shuffling. And he’s not even fighting.
“It’s going to be nonstop action,” he said, his favorite and most repeated catchphrase for the bout.
Abigail “The Bumble Bee” Hendrix will highlight one of the wahine battles in a 20-bout card, which will be held Saturday, Jan. 7 at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. The kickboxing action starts at 7 p.m.
Hendrix will go to work against Kuulei “Da Hamma” Estabilio in what Carvalho calls one of the most anticipated matches of the night.
He doesn’t need the gift of gab for a Christmas present. He’s already got that, talking much in the manner that would make fellow promoter Dana White proud.
“Abigail is nicknamed the ‘Bumble Bee’ because she floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee and hits so hard you stumble and bumble and fall like a tree,” said Carvalho, a state licensed cutman and part-time poet. “Kuulei means ‘sweetheart’ in Hawaiian but when ‘Da Hamma’ falls on your head there’s nothing sweet about it and it hurts like hell.
“This is a fight card you won’t want to miss. It’s bouts and bouts of nonstop action, and we’ve got a plenty of top-notch matchups. It’s going to be so good and I’m so excited I don’t need to drink a cup of coffee to get up in the morning.”
Jon “The Untamable” Barnard will take on former Toughman Hawaii welterweight champ Donald “School Boy” Gonzales in a main event.
“That is a hair-raising fight. Jon is undefeated in his last 15 fights. He’s untamable,” Carvalho said. “This fight will have everyone on their feet. Even if you are bolo-head, this will still be a hair-raising fight, guaranteed. And our other fight on the main card is just as good. It’ll be nonstop action.”
In a heavyweight fight between two brawlers with power-packed resumes, Dylan Rush of Ka’u will engage 18-year-old Jacob Smith, a five-time national champion in both judo and taekwondo.
The nonstop excitement bug returned from lunch and bit Carvalho again while talking about the Rush-Smith fight.
“Jacob is no young kid. He’s as tough as tough gets,” Carvalho said. “He’ll bring his 37-3 kickboxing record to Hilo and take on top superheavyweight Dylan Rush. Dylan has knocked out all his competition here on the island with his aggressive style of fighting.
“Dylan was a former high school standout in football and wrestling and now he’s also into mixed martial arts. He’s going to bring his ‘A’ game to the cage and put on a kickboxing show that will be nonstop action. You can bet on it. This will be a fight that goes down in Toughman Hawaii history.”
Also on the card are the three Pruett sisters, Tiane, Ashlee and the youngest of the bunch, Destinee.
“All three promise to bring the heat,” Carvalho said. “You wouldn’t want to get too close in their kitchen because a punch or kick will put you on the mat.”
In another wahine division fight, Average Joe’s Sharla Sopoago from Kona will knock heads against Hilo’s undefeated Kira De Morales. Rose Swanson from the Spirit of the White Robe will also be on the card.
“This fight card is going to be action-packed from beginning to end,” Carvalho said. “It’s going to be nonstop action. Guaranteed.”
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald