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FAMU’s boxing heavyweight champion to take on Tony Kemp Jr.

By Diajanae Jackson
On November 7, 2016

Photo Credit: Earnest Nelfrard 

Former Florida A&M University student Willie Ferrell will be back in the boxing ring against opponent Tony Kemp Jr. from alabama by way of Pensacola. Ferrell said he’s ready.

“I have to win by any means necessary,” Ferrell said. “Whatever I gotta do to win. Of course I’ll love a knock out, but I would rather just take the will from someone …beat them ‘til they don’t wanna do it anymore and they just quit.”

The 25-year-old Tallahassee native has been boxing competitively nationwide since 2013. One of his titles include 2014 U.S. Intercollegiate Boxing Association heavyweight champion. Ferrell wasn’t always a boxer. He initially started playing football, but always loved the art of boxing.

“I went to Ole Miss out of high school, then I transferred to FAMU to play football with my brother, who was killed. Once he stopped playing, I stopped,” Ferrell said. “When he was alive he was like my biggest supporter. I think that’s my motivation.”

Johnathan Ferrell, a FAMU grad and former football player, was shot and killed by North Carolina police officer Randall Kerrick in September 2013. Many attributed the shooting to racial profiling. Willie Ferrell didn’t let the death of his brother tear him down but instead he fights to keep his brother’s name alive.

Ferrell has his own promotion company which he named Sankofa Promotions, inspired by a tattoo his brother had.

“I promote and I fight. I promote my own company and I promote myself … being young, black, having (my) own company and being a boxing promoter. Right now I’m the youngest boxing promoter,” Ferrell said.

People, like Ferrell’s trainer Kimmus Jones, support Ferrell every step of the way. Jones said he’s watched Ferrell progress over the years.

“He has the ability to adapt and evolve in the business of boxing which is so tough to accomplish. He went from an amateur fighter three years ago to not only becoming a professional fighter, but promoting and building careers of other fighters today,” Jones said.

Along with Jones, Ferrell’s cousin Jeremiah Mills has been there through the “ups and downs.” Mills said one of Ferrell’s best qualities is his dedication.


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