Jeff Kolpack, Published February 04 2013
Formidable Fighter: Former NDSU basketball player now an undefeated professional boxer
He’s in the beginning stages of a professional boxing career that will bring him to the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo Saturday night. Now 30 years old, Green is 9-0 in the heavyweight division.
“It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “But because I was playing basketball, I didn’t have the time to get into it.”
Green was a strong, agile junior-college recruit when he joined the Bison basketball team for the 2003-04 season. He started 18 of 25 games averaging 7.9 points and 4.2 rebounds.
Boxing didn’t enter his life until 2007 when the original intent was to learn self defense. He considered mixed martial arts before concentrating on boxing.
He also got bigger, going from his NDSU playing weight of around 215 pounds to over 300, before cutting to his present-day 275. He trains out of the Uppercut Boxing Gym in Northeast Minneapolis and is being managed and trained by Pete Daszkiewicz.
In one respect, all those hours in the Bison Sports Arena are still paying dividends. Boxing and basketball have their common components.
“The footwork,” Green said. “Some of the boxing movement is almost the same as those defensive shuffles and slides.”
Green’s opponent Saturday is Preston Shane, who according to BoxRec.com is 31 years old with a 1-1 record.
“I really don’t know much about him,” Green said.
Eight of Green’s nine fights have been in Minnesota with the other in Wisconsin. He won a unanimous six-round decision over Maurenzo Smith last weekend at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minn. He has six technical knockouts and one knockout.
Green’s boxing nickname is “Gorilla” and his goal is to win a heavyweight title belt.
The Red River Valley Fair Association card, dubbed the “Winter Brawl,” is a homecoming of sorts for Green other than basketball. He met his wife, Frances, at NDSU and she still has family in the area.
Green transferred to the University of South Dakota for his senior season, but returned to NDSU to get his degree in 2006.
As an amateur boxer, he was a region Golden Gloves champion and reached the quarterfinals of the USA Boxing National tournament in 2009. He reached a No. 6 national amateur ranking before deciding to turn pro.
The hope is to land a title belt fight.
“I just want the opportunity,” he said.
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.
Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found