Emanuel Steward trains Tom Zbikowski
The NFL lockout has allowed Tom Zbikowski to pursue his passion for boxing. He already has won one fight this year and now he's being trained by a Hall of Famer for his next bout.
Emanuel Steward told SI.com that he is training the Baltimore Ravens safety and will be in his corner for his fight Saturday night in Atlantic City, N.J., on the Yuri Gamboa-Jorge Solis undercard. He is training Zbikowski in Detroit at the Kronk Boxing Gym.
"He told me boxing was his first love," Steward told SI.com. "I don't know where this is going to go right now but he seems committed to it."
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has no problems with Zbikowski boxing during the lockout.
"I think it's awesome," Bisciotti told The Baltimore Sun. "I wanted to walk him into the ring but I'm not allowed to communicate with him. I would get the Don King hair going."
Fighting for the second time as a pro, Zbikowski barely broke a sweat earlier this month when he stopped Richard Bryant at 1:45 of the first round of a scheduled four-round fight on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga 154-pound title fight.
Steward told SI.com that he watched tape of Zbikowski's victory and was impressed, saying his movements were "beautiful."
The former Notre Dame star had a stellar amateur boxing career, going 75-15 and reaching the finals of the Chicago Golden Gloves, where he had to withdraw because of a family emergency.
He turned professional before his senior season with the Fighting Irish, and knocked out Robert Bell in the first round at Madison Square Garden on June 10, 2006. He then shelved his boxing ambitions when it became apparent that he would be a high NFL draft pick.
Baltimore selected him in the third round in 2008, and he's made 10 starts in 39 games.
Before his first fight this month, Zbikowski said he believes he has the Ravens' support based on his previous boxing experience.
Steward says Zbikowski looks like he belongs in the ring.
"He has such beautiful balance. He has a great natural rhythm and he's always in position when he is punching," he told SI.com. "He doesn't box like a football player. He boxes like a boxer."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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