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It went the entire four rounds, but Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski’s third professional boxing match kept his record clean at a perfect 3-0.
Zbikowski beat former cagefighting champion Caleb “True Grit” Grummet in a unanimous four-round decision after bloodying his opponent with a series of uppercuts.
The three-year NFL veteran and longtime boxer won 39-36, 39-36 and 38-37.
Zbikowski’s previous two bouts ended in first-round knockouts.
“He’s a big man,” Zbikowski told reporters afterwards. “Obviously, he can take the punches. My punches had effect, but not like it would if the guy had 20 less pounds on him.”
Zbikowski took some punches of his own. Fighting as a 195-pound cruiserweight against the 215-pound heavyweight Grummet, Zbikowski seemed winded in the third round.
He absorbed a Grummet uppercut in the fourth round, but landed enough right hands and uppercuts that helped him win the overall match.
Zbikowski was 75-15 as an amateur boxer while playing safety at Notre Dame. His first pro bout lasted all of 49 seconds to knock out Robert Bell at Madison Square Garden.
Earlier this month, he knocked out Richard Bryant on a sharp body blow in one minute, forty-five seconds in Las Vegas as part of the undercard of the Miguel Cotto – Ricardo Mayorga fight.
“I’m very, very critical of myself,” said Zbikowski. “You want knockouts. Overall experience is what you need; you’re not always going to get knockouts.
“You can’t always throw punches trying to knock the guy out. It drains you, and it shows. It’s a learning experience.”
This was Zbikowski’s first match with Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward in his corner, and the Ravens safety has at least one more fight scheduled on April 23 as the NFL endures a work stoppage.