Two decorated athletes will be making their professional boxing debuts on Dec. 18.
Former NFL star Frank Gore has officially signed on to fight former NBA point guard Deron Williams in a four-round heavyweight boxing match on the undercard of the Jake Paul vs. Tommy Fury boxing event, which is promoted by Showtime Sports and takes place at Amelie Arena in Tampa, Fla. The bout will be contested with a 215-pound weight limit with 10-ounce gloves.
MMA Fighting confirmed the news Tuesday following an initial report by ESPN.
Williams, 37, is the co-owner of Dallas’ Fortis MMA gym, which has produced numerous UFC talents in recent years including Geoff Neal, Deigo Ferreria, Alonzo Menifield, and more. A three-time All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Williams played in the NBA from 2005-2017 and has been a vocal fan and supporter of mixed martial arts for many years.
Standing 6-foot-3, Williams will have a significant height advantage over his 5-foot-9 foe.
“Combat sports have been a part of my life since my youngest days. Before I was a basketball player, I was a wrestler,” Williams said in a press release. “Since 2015, I have had the privilege of owning an MMA gym, and through that I have trained in various martial arts to stay active. Over the last year, I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to translate my training into a professional debut. I’m making that happen on December 18 against Frank, one of the physically strongest NFL players in history.”
Gore, 38, is a five-time Pro Bowl running back and likely future Hall of Famer who was named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team. He holds the all-time NFL record for most games played by a running back (241) and is third on the all-time rushing list with 16,000 yards.
“I’m excited to be fighting on this card and can’t wait to show the world what I’ve been working on,” said Gore. “Boxing has me excited, and on December 18 expect fireworks.”
The Paul vs. Fury event is expected to live on Showtime pay-per-view in the United States.