Jeremy Stiers was more of a lover than a fighter when he attended Gardner schools in the 1980s. Scott Rhodes was known for the occasional tussle out by the power plant when he was a student at Gardner Edgerton High School.
But neither of their youthful reputations will matter when they step into the ring in September to take part in a fighting event in Kansas City.
“This fight, I don’t have to worry about getting into trouble,” Scott said.
The lifelong friends won’t meet one another in the ring, but each will go a few rounds with different opponents during the event.
Jeremy “the Storm” Stiers has been fighting for several years. Boxing fans may recall his televised Showtime bout against Julio Cezar Chavez, Jr., current WBC Silver Middleweight Champion, a few years ago. He was only given six days notice before flying to Las Vegas for that fight. He lost that fight, but lasted five out of six rounds in the ring.
He’s had a little more time to train for a kick boxing match in September.
When he started fighting professionally, he didn’t want to box. He wanted to kickbox.
“But kickboxing wasn’t paying that much at the time so I went and boxed,” Jeremy said.
His interest in fighting sports started when he was 8. He started taking martial arts classes at Bushidokan – his uncle Bob Edwards’ school in Gardner.
“When I turned 26, I asked my uncle if he could get me a fight,” Jeremy explained. “I was wanting to make some money.”
When he learned that the money was in boxing, he made a career out of it – stepping into rings in Canada, New York City and Las Vegas. In 2006, he decided to retire from the sport.
“I got tired of training,” he said. “It’s really hard work. Working, training and trying to raise my kids. I got burnt out.”
Jeremy lives in Gardner and has six children.
When his brother, Jake Stiers, wanted to start training a few months ago, Jeremy decided to train with him.
And then he heard that an old friend – Doug “The Unchained Bull” Freeman was going to start promoting again. Through Facebook, Jeremy knew that Scott wanted to try his hand in the ring. So Jeremy got his promoter friend and his fighting friend together.
Scott’s match in September will be his first. A state-qualifying wrestler throughout high school at GEHS, fighting in the ring was something he always wanted to do.
“It’s like a bucket list thing,” Scott said. “I figured I’d better do it now before I got too old.”
The sport has put Scott in touch with many people from his past. He trains with one of his former classmates, Jeff Owens, and another GE grad Nick Rothwell throughout the week. The training includes Jujitsu, running and sparring. Much of it is completed hours from home.
Scott lives with his wife and three daughters in Galt, Mo. – about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Gardner. On weekdays, he works in the Kansas City area doing masonry with Jeremy. Evenings, they train. On weekends, Scott drives home to see his family.
Scott hopes to start building a fighting record starting, but Jeremy says the September match could be one of his last fights.
“I’ve made a career out of fighting,” Jeremy said. “I’m fixing to retire again. I just get tired of feeling sore and beat up all the time.”
For tickets or more information about the Sept. 10 fighting event, call (816)813-0064.