Terrence Wheat, left, charges Jose Rodriquez during their MMA fight at the AK Beatdown 33 at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018. Wheat is fighting Tyson Duckworth at AK Beatdown 35 on Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Terrence Wheat, left, charges Jose Rodriquez during their MMA fight at the AK Beatdown 33 at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018. Wheat is fighting Tyson Duckworth at AK Beatdown 35 on Friday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

AK Beatdown returns after an eight-month hiatus

Saavy vet Duckworth to take on newcomer

A veteran fighter and up-and-comer will share the octagon for the first time Friday night at AK Beatdown 35.

Tyson Duckworth, an experienced and well-traveled fighter, and Terrance Wheat, who’s only fought once locally, will be the main event when the fighting starts around 8 p.m. inside the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall in the Andrew Hope Building.

The last AK Beatdown took place in April.

“They’ve waited a long time,” AK Beatdown owner Cyndi Isaak said of the fans.

Wheat last fought a year ago at AK Beatdown 33, where he defeated Jose Rodriguez by rear-naked chokehold in the first round. In contrast, Duckworth has fought many times in the past year, including last month when he won an MMA tournament in Anchorage. Duckworth appeared at AK Beatdown 34 in April, losing to Cody Rice in the main event.

“We usually would not match a 1-0 (fighter) with someone like Tyson who has a lot of fights,” Isaak said, “but Terrance really wanted to be challenged and stretched so we did it.”

There will be seven bouts prior to the main event — four in MMA and three in boxing.

The MMA line-up includes Daniel Tweedy vs. Erick Whisenant, Joe Alley vs. Jaiden Kohler, Paul Enriquez vs. Mario Singh and Fritz Ropati vs. Marcuss Tua’au. The boxing line-up includes Amanda Empson vs. Nicole Funk, Ernesto Zarete vs. Seth Elisoff and Zane Hendricksen vs. Marco Reina.

Hendrickson and Reina appear in the co-main event, which Isaak said, “will be a great one.”

“Both of these guys are in such phenomenal shape,” she said.

Duckworth vs. Wheat was elevated from the co-main event to the main event due to Rodriguez dropping out from his duel against Kyle Delarosa, Isaak said.

“I could’ve had a fight for Kyle but he did not want to switch opponents at the last minute,” she said. “When you’ve trained for a specific person for two months, it’s kind of hard to switch gears.”

Duckworth’s flexibility to step up to the main event is characteristic of the Ketchikan fighter, Isaak said.

“He’ll fight anyone, anytime, never quibbles,” she said.

Tickets are $30 and available at both McGivney’s Sports Bar & Grill locations, Hearthside Books and online at jahc.org/box-office. Tickets are $35 at the door.

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.

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