DEWEY BOZELLA TO MAKE PROFESSIONAL DEBUT ON
UNDERCARD OF OCTOBER 15 HOPKINS VS. DAWSON FIGHT AFTER
SERVING 26 YEARS ON WRONGFUL MURDER CHARGE
Los Angeles (October 10)…Dewey Bozella‘s dream has always been to have just one professional boxing match. Following perhaps the most unconventional path to a first professional fight in the history of the sport, on Oct. 15, that dream will come true. After spending 26 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder and having that conviction overturned two years ago, Bozella is scheduled to fight in a four-round cruiserweight bout against Larry Hopkins of Houston, Tex. on the undercard of the championship fight between WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins and former World Champion Chad Dawson. So that all of those who have become captivated by his story can catch the outcome of his professional debut, highlights of Bozella’s fight against Larry Hopkins will be shown during the HBO Pay-Per-View® telecast.
“This is the opportunity that I have been waiting for,” said Bozella. “Boxing was the one thing that helped me get through my time in prison and the fact that I am getting this chance to make my dream come true, is something that I cannot wait for.”
Bozella is 52 years old, six years older than even Hopkins, boxing’s ageless champion who at 46 became the oldest boxer ever to win a world title last May. Bozella has been training in Philadelphia with Hopkins in preparation for his pro debut, and Hopkins has been impressed and inspired by Bozella.
“Dewey Bozella is a prime example of the power of the mind and heart to do anything,” said Hopkins. “This is a man who lost everything for a crime he didn’t commit, but he never gave up hope. He has inspired everyone who has heard his story, including me. I’d rather face 100 Chad Dawsons than face two or three days in Dewey’s shoes.”
It is important to note some of the parallels between Bozella and Hopkins. Both spent time in prison, though Bozella was innocent, beginning at a young age. Both decided to change their lives for the better while incarcerated. Boxing helped both men find their passion and changed their lives. Although a jury twice found Bozella guilty, the second time following a retrial, he took his frustrations and bitterness to the prison boxing ring and channeled his energy into training.
Bozella took his passion for boxing and made it his focus while in prison. He ended up winning the Sing Sing Light Heavyweight title. He later earned a bout against New York City Golden Gloves champion Lou Del Valle, who would go on to be the first fighter ever to knock down Roy Jones Jr. in a professional fight. Bozella nearly won the fight, but it was stopped after Del Valle landed a punch that cut Bozella badly above the eye with Del Valle being declared the winner.
Meanwhile, Bozella continued to make his life what he wanted it to be despite being in jail. He earned his GED, bachelor’s and master’s degrees-all from prison-and he even proposed to and married Trena Boone, whom Bozella met while she was visiting her brother in Sing Sing.
“No matter how much boxing meant to me and motivated me, my biggest fight was for my freedom,” said Bozella. “I never gave up. I knew I was getting out of prison. Either I was going to die in there and go out in a box or I was going to walk out of there a free man.”
Finally, after repeatedly refusing to admit to and apologize for committing the murder for which he was convicted in exchange for parole, Bozella’s conviction was overturned when the Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr law firm took his case pro bono and discovered new evidence establishing his innocence and setting him free.
Bozella is now determined to use his experience to help others. He has organized the Dewey Bozella Foundation (www.thedeweybozellafoundation.org) , a charity organized to open a boxing gym in Newburgh, New York where he can train youth as a way to keep them off the streets.
“A lot of people helped me get to this point,” said Bozella. “I want to be able to pay some of that forward, open my own gym and help others. My main focus is kids, but my gym will be for anyone who wants to come.”
For now, Bozella has his eye on Larry Hopkins and his dream of a pro debut. His new mentor and friend Bernard Hopkins thinks that his hard work will pay off.
“Everyone deserves a second chance to fulfill their dream,” Hopkins said. “Dewey was robbed of half of his life. I am happy that I’m able to provide the platform for him to achieve his dream on October 15. Now I want him to go into that ring and show the world that he not only deserved this chance, but he earned it.”
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“Believe It Or Not!: Hopkins vs. Dawson” is a 12-round bout for Hopkins’ WBC and Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight World Championship Titles taking place on Saturday, Oct. 15 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Calif. and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. The event is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, AT&T and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. In addition to this championship main event showdown, the televised pay-per-view undercard will also feature Antonio DeMarco vs. Jorge Linares in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBC Lightweight World Title, Kendall Holt vs. Danny Garcia in 12-round bout for the vacant NABO Junior Welterweight Title and Paulie Malignaggi vs. Orlando Lora in a 10-round welterweight bout. DeMarco vs. Linares is presented in association with Teiken Promotions.
Tickets for Hopkins vs. Dawson, priced at $300, $150, $75 and $25, are available for purchase online at www.staplescenter.com and www.ticketmaster.com, via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone lines at (800) 745-3000 and at the STAPLES Center Box Office.