Ex-UFC washout Slice begins training for boxing debut

Kevin Ferguson, better known to casual combat sports fans as Kimbo Slice, officially has left the mixed martial arts world to pursue a professional boxing career.

The announcement was made Aug. 27 by Gary Shaw Productions.

Slice, who compiled a 4-2 pro MMA record, first competed professionally in the now-defunct Elite Xtreme Combat promotion. At the time, Shaw promoted Slice and was responsible for introducing the popular street brawler to an international audience on Showtime and CBS.

Since EliteXC relied so heavily on promoting Slice as its top star, his shocking 14-second loss to Seth Petruzelli on an October 2008 card led to the organization’s eventual demise.

The 36-year-old Bahamian-American was later featured on Spike TV’s hit reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter, which subsequently led to him getting an opportunity to compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Slice lost to eventual season winner Roy Nelson on the show, but was successful in his UFC debut, defeating Houston Alexander by unanimous decision in December 2009. Following a loss to Matt Mitrione at UFC 113 this past May, UFC president Dana White announced Slice would be released from the company.

Prior to inking Slice to a boxing contract, Shaw repeatedly had expressed his desire to sign the former club bouncer. Even after joining the UFC, Slice had stated publicly that he was grateful for Shaw’s early career guidance and hoped to work with him in the future.

Shaw thinks Slice’s mainstream popularity will bring many crossover fans to the sweet science, and he isn’t alone. Future boxing Hall of Famer Roy Jones Jr. said the signing was great news for both Florida, where Slice resides, and the boxing community as a whole.

According to Shaw, Slice will be working with new trainer Clemente Medina and strength and conditioning coach Darryl Hudson to prepare for his eventual debut sometime between October and December.

Given boxing’s recent drop in popularity, particularly in the heavyweight division, Shaw believes Slice will bring back some interest.

With the right training and dedication, Shaw hopes Slice can be groomed to challenge the likes of the Klitschko brothers and David Haye eventually.