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NFL’s ‘Tommy Z’ to fight again later this month

Steve Cofield
Boxing

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Not all NFL players are interested in simply managing their money during the lockout, some are out to make sure they're earning while the pads are in lockup.

For the time being, Baltimore Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski has taken up a side gig. Zbikowski, a three year NFL veteran with a long amateur boxing career, won his second professional fight on Saturday night. You think his $50,000 payday was some sort of publicity stunt? Think again because he's already got another fight scheduled in less than two weeks on Mar. 26 in Atlantic City.

"It's fun boxing because it's only you. You can't look to your left or right for teammates, you gotta be ready," Zbikowski (2-0) said. "Football is a lot fun to play but here's nothing like fight night. It was the first time in a long time. It's gonna be a very good learning experience."

Zbikowski's first pro fight since 2006 didn't last very long. With a body shot, he floored and took out Richard Bryant in just 1:45. "Tommy Z" showed he can roughhouse. He stood toe-to-toe banging away with the pudgy Bryant. At one point, Bryant tried to clinch and Zbikowski tossed him on his like a running back.

Zbikowski even ate a few solid right hands from Bryant. The former Notre Dame star was asked if he was looking for something more spectacular than a finish on a body shot.

''I was looking to get a little more work but you take a win any way you can get it. I know I hurt him with the hook, you could feel the air come out, '' Zbikowski said.  "You're never disappointed in a knockout. It felt good to deal with  the adrenaline drop and know without a doubt I was going to be able to go four rounds. I felt like i was in very good shape."

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Fighting in front of 7,247, the adrenaline drop worried Zbikowski the most. Boxers and MMA fighters often talk about "gassing" themselves because they get too excited early in a fight.{ysp:more}

"You have to control it in boxing, because in football maybe that first series you get real excited. The warm up in boxing is far, far more important than in football," Zbikowski. "I learned a lot from that first fight in not going out and bum rushing the guy. Give him a couple of moves, feel him out a little bit. A lot of guys aren't used to the pressure of the bright lights. You gotta use everything to your advantage."

Zbikowski said it's a wait and see deal with the lockout. He's happy  the players are sticking together in this struggle vs. the owners.

"We're not sure with what's gonna happen next year, but it's awesome to see the team unity. It's a real brotherhood," said Zbikowski.

Zbikowski fights on the undercard of an HBO telecast featuring Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Jorge Solis in the main event.

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