Baltimore Raven Tom Zbikowski Returns to Professional Boxing, Wins Via Unanimous Decision in Third Bout

Baltimore Raven Tom Zbikowski Returns to Professional Boxing, Wins Via Unanimous Decision in Third Bout In a time when the future of the National Football League is uncertain, many players are looking for something to fill their time.  They're trying it all, from selling suits to playing soccer.

Baltimore Raven Tom Zbikowski has joined this group of adventurers.

On Saturday night, the safety stepped into the ring to continue his professional boxing career against Caleb "True Grit" Grummet, and he was able to win by unanimous decision, according to The Baltimore Sun.

In light of the lockout, Zbikowski was able to put his boxing gloves back on and return to his first love.

Previously, he fought for Notre Dame and posted a 75-15 amateur boxing record with the Fighting Irish.  Before his return this year, Zbikowski's last fight was at Madison Square Garden on June 10, 2006.  In his first professional fight, he knocked out Robert Bell in the first round, but put his boxing career on hold to enter the NFL.

"Boxing has had to take a back seat to my football career because [the NFL] is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said. "You have to take the opportunity when it comes to you. But boxing is not a hobby. When you fight professionally, you have to take it seriously."

Zbikowski added a second professional fight to his record on March 12, when he knocked out Richard Bryant in the first round, despite being outweighed by 32 pounds.

"I wanted to get the ring rust off in this fight," he said. "Right now, this isn't a second career for me. It's a first career."

Fast-forward to March 26. 

Just two weeks after his return bout, "Tommy Z" climbed back between the ropes and fought his way to a unanimous decision over Grummet. Zbikowski faced another weight disadvantage, as his opponent weighed 215 pounds to his 195.

After the victory, the 25-year-old struggled to catch his breath and vomited on his way to the dressing room, but it looks like he'll be back for more.

Zbikowski even hired hall of fame trainer Emanuel Steward to work with him.

"He's really a boxer that happens to play football," Steward told SI.com. "He's not a football player trying to learn how to box. He makes money playing football. But this is his passion.

"He has such beautiful balance. He has a great natural rhythm and he's always in position when he is punching," he added. "He doesn't box like a football player. He boxes like a boxer."

Zbikowski even has the support of the Baltimore Ravens, where he has played for the past three seasons.

"I think it's awesome," owner Steve 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."

Zbikowski has another fight scheduled for April 9, and a fourth for the end of April.

"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."

Photo from Zbikowski's Facebook account.

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