By Jesse Kelley
6’5, 270lb former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards will make his professional boxing debut this Friday night at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, MN. Despite having no prior boxing experience, pro or amateur, the 26-year-old Edwards has sports fans buzzing in anticipation for the soon to be prizefighter to step off the gridiron and through the ropes. Edwards told Fightnews before the start of last year’s football season that he is not worried about the lack of ring experience because of the advantage his athletic background should bring.
“I watched a lot of boxing growing up. As a kid it was always something I wanted to do but I was never able to find a gym where I grew up. I really got into boxing a few years ago after meeting my boxing trainer Jeff Warner. Jeff is a Pastor but was also a boxer. I know I don’t have any fights under my belt but I have done pretty well in sparring. I have been getting a lot of sparring in and feel like I am ready to box professionally. I feel like my football has allowed me to progress faster then normal as a boxer and I also feel like the boxing training will pay off on the football field as well.”
Edwards says his dream of one day boxing became more and more of a reality as talks of an NFL lockout for this season started spreading last year. Edwards will now put his boxing skills to the test against kickboxer TJ Gibson of Duluth, MN. It will be the pro boxing debut of both men.
St. Paul, MN middleweight Cerresso Fort (10-0 8 ko’s) makes his return to the ring in the co-featured bout of the evening against Tim Taggart (5-2-2, 2 ko’s)
The main events will be complimented by appearances from fellow Minnesotan’s Tony Lee (3-0, 1 KO) and Jamal James (4-0, 4 ko’s) . James will face spoiler Hector Orozco (3-7, 3 ko’s) in a welterweight bout while Lee takes on Ron Fuentez (debut). Other action includes Bobby Butters Jr. (1-1) taking on Donny Tierney (3-2) in a rematch. Butters took a decision in their first meeting last year. Heavyweight Van Goodman (2-2-1) returns to action after a two year absence against Zak Jensen (0-1). Bantamweight Jonathan Perez (1-0) faces Raymond Torres (0-1) in a four round bantamweight bout.
The card will be promoted by Midwest Sports Council. Tickets are available at www.sports-council.com