Dewey Bozella to make pro debut

Updated: September 30, 2011, 12:13 AM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Dewey Bozella's dream will come true.

The 52-year-old, who was released from prison in 2009 after serving 26 years for a murder he did not commit, will make his professional boxing debut Oct. 15 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on the undercard of light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins' defense against Chad Dawson.

Because of Bozella's age and lack of pro experience, he had to go through a battery of tests for the California State Athletic Commission, which he passed. The commission licensed him Thursday.

Bozella caught the eye of Golden Boy Promotions, which is promoting the Oct. 15 card, after his life was chronicled in July on ESPN's annual ESPY Award show. Bozella was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award on the show.

Bozella, who boxed as an amateur and while he was in an upstate New York prison, dreamed of fighting professionally while he was incarcerated. He has been training with Hopkins and will compete in a four-round cruiserweight contest against an opponent to be determined.

In 1983, Bozella was convicted of the 1977 murder of a 92-year-old woman in her Poughkeepsie, N.Y., home. He was accused of binding her with electrical cord and stuffing 5 feet of cloth down her throat with a tool resembling a chisel until she suffocated. There was no physical evidence of Bozella being in her home and he had been bicycling by himself miles away, but was arrested and ultimately convicted.

Eventually, the case against him was overturned when witnesses against Bozella recanted their stories.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Cal Fussman contributed to this report.