Monday, July 18, 2011

Minnesota Viking Ray Edwards wins his boxing debut

Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski is off to a solid start in the squared circle, so Ray Edwards thought he'd give it go. The Vikings defensive end made his boxing debut last night a successful one by rolling to a unanimous decision victory, 40-34, 39-35 and 40-34, over T.J. Gibson at Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minn.

Edwards knocked Gibson down twice in the fight. Once in the first and again in the fourth.

The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Edwards found out boxing is no easy craft even against a 5-9, 210-pound opponent.

"I definitely stayed behind my jab and just keep working. He got a couple of good shots off and [it was]�a little rougher than I expected but I rush 300-pound guys all day so I'm used to it. Guys trying to be rough," Edwards told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Earlier in the week, the 26-year-old Edwards was challenged by promoter Jared Shaw, who represents former street fighter and MMA practitioner Kimbo Slice.

Slice, 37, last fought for the UFC in May of 2010 and wants to try his hand at boxing. Shaw said Kimbo is open to a fight against Edwards.

"I have no idea [if that will happen]. I don't know if they want to fight MMA�or fight in a back alley. I�have no idea. But whatever they want to do, we're just going to keep training right now and just keep going forward," said Jeff Warner, Edwards' trainer. "[...] If they want to call me, give me a holler, we'll sit down and the bottom line is you put some numbers together we'll do it."

Vikings writer Judd Zulgad said Edwards needs some work:

I am�certainly not a boxing expert,�but�it�should come as no�surprise that Edwards remains very much a work in progress as a boxer.�It will be interesting to see who he�ends up facing on�June 24 in his next fight. That also is scheduled to be at Grand Casino Hinckley and if the opponent is a step up from Gibson (both in size and in quality) Edwards is going to need to be an improved boxer at that point.

Warner was a little more critical.

"Bottom line is he's a great football player and he's a great boxer. He's going to do both. I just want him boxing, I�want him working off his jab and moving. There were times out there he looked incredible tonight and there were times he looked rough. I'm going to be honest with you. I'm not happy," Warner said. "We're going to go back and we're going to work hard on Monday, we're going to work on some things. But overall I was happy. He did about 75 percent of his ability."

Edwards was paid a guaranteed $5,000 and got half of the gate. If nothing changes with the NFL lockout, Edwards is contracted to fight again next month.

Unlike Zbikowski, Edwards has zero amateur background as a boxer. Zbikowski, now 3-0 in his latest pro boxing stint, had over 90 amateur fights before concentrating on his football career at Notre Dame and now the Baltimore Ravens.

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