The Redneck Brawl has taken the Mountains by storm, replacing the famous Rough-N-Rowdy Brawl as the top form of combat entertainment in the hollers and hills of Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia. Months after selling out the historic Williamson Field House in Williamson, WV, the promoters hosted another event this past weekend at the Welch Armory in Welch, WV. Since Barstool bought out the Rough-N-Rowdy Brawl, it hasn’t had the same popularity with folks in the area, but the folks at Redneck Brawl has pumped new blood into the sport of boxing, having men and women of all ages excited about stepping into the ring again.
The promo videos for the Redneck Brawl has been an instant hit on all social media platforms, but what some fail to realize is, these fights actually do showcase some talented boxers while also giving us a chance to watch some of our favorite High School athletes compete once again. This past weekend the “Lick Creek Freak” Jo-Jo Ratliff stepped inside the ropes in front of a sold out crowd and thousands watching via pay-per view, giving his fans a performance they wouldn’t forget.
Ratliff, a former standout football player for East Ridge High School, was always known for defying odds by out working his opponents, even earning a scholarship to the University of Pikeville football team post graduation. Ratliff would bring that same work ethic with him to the Redneck Brawl as he competed in the Heavyweight Division, a weight class for fighters north of 215 pounds.
Ratliff would square off against West Virginia’s own Christopher Baker from Delbarton, WV. It looked like it was going to be a good matchup but Ratliff’s power proved to be the difference maker. After an early right hook landed Baker on the canvas, it was smooth sailing from there on out for the “Lick Creek Freak”. Baker would push the fight to the distance but the heavy-handed Ratliff would out score Baker on the judges score cards and get crowned “King of the Ring” in his first ever appearance in the Redneck Brawl.
We sat down with Ratliff after the win and asked him what made him decide to enter the Red.eck Brawl? Ratliff said- “I really enjoy the sport of boxing. It’s very exciting and it helps me feed my competitive nature.”
We asked Ratliff how it felt to come a way with the win in front of all of his fans, he responded- “It felt great to come out in my first amateur fight and do well and be able to get the win. It was a surreal moment.”
When asked if he planned on making another performance inside the ring, Ratliff said- “I try to never let fear or experience keep me from doing things that interest me. I am definitely going to pursue more fights in the future and I really appreciate everyone that showed me support over the past few weeks.”
Ratliff said he has taken time away from football, the sport he grew up loving. He said he is no longer at UPIKE or coaching at his alma mater East Ridge, but he does miss the gridiron. Ratliff said right now he is out of town a lot since he took a job with an excavating company but he promises you will be hearing his name soon as more boxing opportunities open up in the area.