Zbikowski registers first-round TKO

Ravens safety moves to 4-0 as pro boxer

  • Tom Zbikowski, left, sparring with Detroit boxer Anthony Barns, 19, Tuesday April 12, 2011 during a training session at the famous Kronk Gym in Detroit, Michigan. Zbikowski has been training with legendary boxing trainer Emanuel Steward.
Tom Zbikowski, left, sparring with Detroit boxer Anthony Barns,… (Bryan Mitchell, Baltimore…)
April 24, 2011|By Robert Przybylo, The Oklahoman

THACKERVILLE, Okla. — — Baltimore Ravens safety Tommy Zbikowski knows there are always going to be doubters about how serious he is about boxing.

It's easy for people to say he's doing it for the novelty of it — that he's some sideshow attraction.

And then you watch him fight. Zbikowski's fourth bout might have been his most impressive, as he scored a first-round technical knockout Saturday night at the WinStar Casino.

Zbikowski improved to 4-0 with three of the wins by knockout.

"This was my best win since coming back from a five-year layoff," Zbikowski said. "I felt composed and relaxed out there."

Coming off a decision victory in his last bout, Zbikowski wasn't looking for the knockout, but he put the punches together against Oklahoma City's Blake Warner to earn the stoppage.

It was a right uppercut at the 2:20 mark of the opening stanza that forced referee Vic Drakulich to call a halt to the bout without even making a count. However, it was the way he set it up that showed how much dedication Zbikowski has to the sport.

With Warner in a defensive posture and Warner's defense held high, Zbikowski did something that not even some of the most disciplined boxers are able to recognize. He attacked the body.

The body shots forced Warner to drop his guard and Zbikowski went to work before the right uppercut closed the show.

"I'm a body puncher, and he was really leaning back in his stance, which was making it tough to get a clean shot," Zbikowski said. "I had to get him leaning forward and the body shots did that.

"That was my cleanest knockout yet. It was a quick uppercut. I'm actually excited to see the replay myself," Zbikowski said.

Zbikowski hasn't forgotten about what he also gets paid for — playing football. He said he wants to fight again in May and June before focusing his attention back to playing safety for the Ravens.

The NFL lockout prevents the Ravens from contacting Zbikowski, but owner Steve Bisciotti has said he thinks it's 'awesome' that Zbikowski is boxing.

bprzybylo@opubco.com

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