Police say a western Pennsylvania woman and her boyfriend forced the woman's sons — a 6-year-old and a 9-year-old — to fight each other as the couple watched.

The boys tell officials their mom's boyfriend said the fights were training to toughen them up.

Thirty-year-old Joyce Sabotka and her boyfriend, 32-year-old Steven Meyer, of Tarentum, face a preliminary hearing Aug. 19 on child endangerment and simple assault charges.

They were arrested Thursday because police say the couple forced the fist fights at least 20 times. If the boys refused, police say they got smacked.

Police began investigating when the boys' natural father noticed bruises on them and had them treated at a hospital.

Online court records don't list attorneys for the couple, who do not have a listed phone.