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Spokane heavyweight Chauncy Welliver returns to ring

UPDATED: Wed., July 18, 2018, 10:30 p.m.

Former heavyweight contender and Rogers High graduate Chauncy Welliver poses for a portrait in February 2018. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Chauncy Welliver has long embraced his plus-sized physique, but the Spokane heavyweight boxer recently came to a harsh realization.

When just seconds of chasing his 4-year-old daughter around B.A. Clark Park felt like an intense cardio session, the 35-year-old Hillyard product knew he was in the worst shape of his life.

His boxing career – he’s had just six professional fights in the last six years, all outside the U.S. – wasn’t his biggest concern this time, though.

“If I am eating bowls of cereal for dinner, there’s something wrong with my life,” said the 6-foot-2 Welliver, who once weighed 380 pounds. “I needed to change, or I am not going to live long enough to see my daughter graduate.”

Welliver, who is 55-12-5 as pro, decided this year to cut back on the sweets, hit the gym and put in the type of training he experienced as a 20-something making his bones in the Inland Northwest boxing circuit.

He’s lost 30 pounds in recent months but still has a long way to go, he said.

“I am doing this to feel a little better, to look a little better, and just be healthier,” he said. “Boxing is just part of the reason I am doing this.”

It won’t hurt when he faces MMA fighter Ruben Roundstone on Friday at the Civic Center in Butte, Welliver’s first fight on U.S. soil since 2012 and first bout since 2016.

For the last six years, Welliver has put much of his focus on his Hillyard gym, BoxFit, where he’s helped train some of the area’s top fighters while providing an athletic outlet for the area’s at-risk youth.

His new business didn’t keep promoters from pitching Welliver fights.

He admittedly didn’t train as hard as he used to when he agreed to fights in Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Russia and Mexico, bouts he said he accepted to earn some cash and see different parts of the world.

His overseas traveling will continue in November when fights in Vietnam, a country, Welliver said, that hasn’t had a legal boxing match since the 1930s.

He’ll also fight at the Coeur d’Alene Casino in October.

“The tickets to the Vietnam fight are already sold out,” he said. “I’ll have two fights down there, so I’ll be staying for two weeks.”

With his upcoming string of fights and living a healthier life, Welliver isn’t completely ruling out the possibility of an eventual to return to glory, when he was ranked among the best of the world.

According to his Wikipedia page, he’s never been knocked down and was ranked as high as No. 5 in the world by the WBC.

“At this age, you’re never going to be able to do this things you did 10 years ago,” Welliver said.

“But maybe I can be the next Cinderella Man.”