Heavyweight boxer Bill Yates makes time to take photos, sign autographs and otherwise engage with everyone who cares to say hello to him.
“I’ll talk to anybody man,” Yates says with a good-natured grin moments after hugging up with a couple of friendly fans for a “selfie” at Baysos Sports Pub on Hord Street in Grayson.
The local boxer appears upbeat and confident following his recent defeat of Larry Knight in a Co-Main fight with Travis “The Rattlesnake” Hanshaw at the Boyd County Community Center. “All the Kentucky boys brought it home,” he said, commenting on the evening’s results.
Yates said the fight went as he’d hoped and planned, despite the fact several months had passed since his last bout in November, 2018. “Seven months between fights – that’s a long time,” he said, explaining his title as World Boxing Federation North American Heavyweight Champion was not up for grabs as part of that fight.
A boilermaker by profession, Yates was working in Toledo, Ohio in the weeks before the fight. He found a good gym and training partners there, he said, acknowledging he had to maintain a tough schedule between work and training in the unfamiliar city.
The 5-foot-10-inch fighter, who weighs in between 200 and 208 pounds, is a member of the East Carter High School Class of 2003.
In the boxing ring, Yates said his strong point is “Being a hard nose.” His weaknesses, he said, are a bit more complicated. “Probably my biggest downfall is that I carry a lot of muscle and I need a lot of oxygen. My trainers make me do a lot of extra conditioning for that, I have to do a lot of conditioning,” he said. “Conditioning is a mental game,” he later added.
Yates is quick to credit his trainers and team – Phil Clark, Keith Salmon, Tom and Mindy Hanshaw of East Coast Promotions, and Travis Hanshaw, for taking care of a million details and allowing him to focus on his training.
Born and raised in the Willard community, Yates recently moved to Ashland in order to be able to train two to three times per day at Phil Clark’s martial arts studio as well as the Westwood Boys Club.Yates said both he and his managers hope to schedule another fight soon. “I’m hoping no later than the first of September,” he said, explaining many factors must be determined by governing bodies.
“We are trying to get a fight for a bigger title, or we will defend the ones I have already got,” he said, noting he currently holds the Kentucky State Heavyweight title as well as the WBF North American Heavyweight Champion belt.
Yates said anyone who sends him him a message on social media will get a personal response.
“I’m on Instagram and Facebook,” he said, adding “Like I said, I will talk to anybody.”
Yates said he also owes a deep gratitude to a considerable list of sponsors including heartofalionclothing.com, Smokey Valley Pawn & Gold, Paul Morgan of Ross Real Estate Services, Flaugher Brothers Farms, Tim Lawson of Lawson Construction, Carroll’s Excavating, Border’s Sporting Goods, Phil Clark’s Martial Arts Academy, and RescuePro (confined space rescue services).