Kimbo Slice to make boxing debut

Updated: June 29, 2011, 10:43 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Kimbo Slice, the internet fighting sensation who rose to prominence in MMA, is making the jump to the boxing ring.

Slice will make his professional boxing debut in a scheduled four-round heavyweight bout against an opponent to be determined in the main event of an untelevised card at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla., on Aug. 13, promoter Gary Shaw said Wednesday.

"Kimbo has been in Los Angeles area training for this for almost three months," Shaw said. "I don't know how far he can go, but I know he's very strong and powerful. I know the heavyweight division is weak at this moment in time, so it gives him an opportunity. He's never been in against top echelon boxers, so that story is still untold.

"But I know if he can't do this or he feels he is in over his head or outclassed, he'll call it a day. He will not make a fool of himself. He's too proud."

Kimbo was always meant to be in the ring. He's one of the hardest punchers in the world, and on Aug. 13, his journey to becoming America's heavyweight begins. The first stop will be Oklahoma in what will become the Kimbo Slice Express.

-- Kimbo Slice's adviser Jared Shaw

Slice, 37, whose real name is Kevin Ferguson, had previously toyed with the idea of boxing and was considering his pro debut late last year before changing his mind.

Now, he has had a change of heart and wants to pursue it, Shaw said.

"He was very serious about it (last year). He came out to Los Angeles but, ultimately, I don't think he had his heart in it 100 percent," Shaw said. "He was thinking maybe he should still do MMA. Then I got a call that he was serious and ready. And he was. He has been out there training for months away from his family."

Videos of Slice's backyard brawls became a sensation on the internet and he took up MMA in 2007, eventually becoming one of the sport's most recognizable faces despite his lack of professional experience.

He first fought in the now-defunct Elite XC promotion -- where Shaw was an executive -- before a brief stint with UFC, during which he participated in "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series. He lost his first bout on the show.

In May 2010, he was stopped by Matt Mitrione in the second round at UFC 113 and was released from his contract the next day. At that point, his MMA record was 4-2 and he began to talk about boxing.

Now Slice, who is 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, plans to go through with it.

"Kimbo was always meant to be in the ring," said Jared Shaw, Slice's adviser and Gary Shaw's son. "He's one of the hardest punchers in the world and on Aug. 13, his journey to becoming America's heavyweight begins. The first stop will be Oklahoma in what will become the Kimbo Slice Express."

Slice has been training with Randy Khatami and has also worked with Clemente Medina, who also trains junior middleweight contender Alfredo "Perro" Angulo.

"He's completely focused on his boxing career and excited to showcase his talents inside the squared circle," Jared Shaw said. "Kimbo Slice is hungry and when that man wants his bread, he's scary."

Said Gary Shaw, "Even in his (MMA) losses, Kimbo brought a level of excitement that few fighters can generate. He is a genuine personality with unbelievable strength and character and we're excited about his prospects in boxing. The minute he steps in the ring, he'll be one of the most recognizable and talked-about fighters in the sport and his fans around the world will once again feel the excitement."

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.