Gabriel Gonzaga will be the latest UFC veteran to try his hand at the Sweet Science.
According to a release, the former heavyweight title challenger will make his professional boxing debut on the “New England’s Future 4” card, which takes place at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., on Oct. 26. The event is promoted by Rivera Promotions Entertainment (RPE), which is owned by former two division world champion Jose Antonio Rivera and his son, Anthonee Rivera. An opponent for Gonzaga was not announced.
"RPE is excited to have an athlete of Gonzaga's caliber making his pro debut on our NEF4 boxing event," Jose Antonio Rivera said in a release. "We are happy that boxers and MMA athletes trust us in terms of what we are trying to do to help them build their careers."
Gonzaga last appeared at UFC Fight Night 86, where he suffered a first-round knockout loss to Derrick Lewis. The 38-year-old Massachusetts native, who had lost four of his five Octagon appearances since 2014, fought out his last contract with the UFC and told MMAFighting.com in 2016 that he was “probably retired” from MMA unless he receives a six-figure offer.
Gonzaga is 17-11 over the course of an MMA career that began in 2003. “Napao” owns notable victories over the likes of Mirko Filipovic, Ben Rothwell and Shawn Jordan. He challenged for the heavyweight belt at UFC 74, falling to Randy Couture via third-round technical knockout.
"When I first saw Gabriel sparring," Gonzaga trainer Rocky Gonzalez said in the release, "I knew he had potential to beat a lot of heavyweights around. He had a lot going on at that time and he was still under contract with the UFC. Now, it's a great opportunity for him."
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