Tim Washington's story is a rather familiar one in the boxing game.
Think Rocky. Think James "Buster" Douglas.
The Toledo native is a 32-year-old who believes he can become a world heavyweight champion one day even though he didn't turn pro until he was already 30 years old.
"I believe I can go all the way up to winning a world title," said Washington, who is taking part in a seven-bout boxing card set for Friday night in a ballroom at the Grand Hotel.
Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 270 pounds, Washington certainly has the physical dimensions fit for a heavyweight.
But does Washington, who is 0-2 as a pro fighter, have the goods to become a legitimate contender in the heavyweight ranks?
Douglas — a former heavyweight champ — and his former trainer John Johnson, Jr., think highly enough about Washington's upside as a fighter that they've been working with him for nearly six months and will be in his corner during his scheduled four-round bout against a yet-to-be-named opponent.
"They tell me I've got the potential to get a world title and I know I do," Washington said, about Douglas' and Johnson's analysis of him as a fighter. "It falls on me. I know I have to be ready."
Washington, who works third shift at Walmart, trains daily. When he's not running and shadow boxing at Ottawa Park or working out at various local gyms during the week, he's been spending weekends in Columbus working with Douglas and Johnson on his boxing skills.
"He came in with a lot of natural ability, but it's about grooming it and showing him techniques," said Douglas, about working with Washington.
Johnson served as a trainer for Douglas and helped him eventually become a world champion with a surprising knockout of heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in 1990 in Tokyo. Johnson thinks Washington possesses some of the same traits that led to Douglas, who was a relatively unkonwn boxer out of Ohio, becoming a heavyweight title holder.
"Buster and I were really impressed with him when we saw him fight," Johnson said. "He's a big kid. He can punch and he can take a punch.
"We're honestly trying to train him like we trained Buster and when Buster was at his greatest he was great."
Furthermore, the former heavyweight champ doesn't think Washington is too old to fight his way to a title.
"There's a lack of talent that's out there in the American heavyweights," Douglas said. "He has some years left in him because he's always taken care of himself."
Douglas is also making himself available for an autograph session during the event.
The main event for the boxing card managed by local attorney Martin McManus will feature undefeated heavyweight Masedonio Molina (5-0, 5 KOs), who is scheduled to take on Wade Tolle, Jr. (0-0).
A weigh-in of all the fighters is scheduled to take place tonight at 7 p.m. at the Grand Hotel, located at 444 North Summit Street. It's open to the public.
Tickets for the boxing card are $25, $35, and $50 and can be purchased at the Purgatory Boxing office, located at 518 Madison Ave. For more info call 419-244-4400 or visit purgatoryfs.com.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.
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