Boxer who spent 26 yrs in jail wins first fight

Boxer who spent 26 yrs in jail wins first fight

After 26 years behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit, Bozella triumphantly realised a dream deferred in his first and only professional fight.

Bozella won his pro boxing debut on Saturday night, beating Larry Hopkins by unanimous decision in the latest stunning chapter of a remarkable life. “I used to lay in my cell and dream about this happening,” Bozella said. “It was all worth it. It was my dream come true.”

Wrongfully convicted of killing 92-year-old Emma Crapser in 1983, Bozella earned two college degrees and became the light heavyweight champion of Sing Sing before he was exonerated in 2009.

First and last

Golden Boy Promotions fulfilled Bozella’s dream by putting him on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins’ bout with Chad Dawson. His victory, punctuated by that devastating punch to Larry Hopkins’ head at the final bell, brought the crowd to its feet.

“This was my first and last fight,” said Bozella, who lives in Newburgh, New York. “It’s a young man’s game. I did what I wanted to do, and I’m happy. I appreciate everybody that made this possible. This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

Despite a complete lack of physical evidence, Bozella was convicted of killing Crapser on her way home after a night out playing bingo. He maintained his innocence throughout a quarter-century behind bars, even turning down a plea-bargain offer in 1990 that would have required admitting guilt, until his conviction was overturned.

Bozella has never lived without tragedy. His father beat his pregnant mother to death when he was 9 years old, and two of his brothers were murdered on the Brooklyn streets.
Four months after he moved to Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1977, he was
suspected of killing Crapser, but not indicted by a grand jury.

Bozella cleaned up a life of petty crime and embraced boxing at a gym run by former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, but he was arrested and convicted of Crapser’s murder in December 1983 on the strength of false testimony from other convicts.

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