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Updated: May 3rd, 2011 5:38pm
Former kickboxer T.J. Gibson is Ray Edwards' first opponent in ring

Former kickboxer T.J. Gibson is Ray Edwards' first opponent in ring

by Tom Pelissero
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Ray Edwards will look down on his first boxing opponent. Literally.

The Minnesota Vikings' 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end's debut in the ring will come on May 20 at Grand Casino Hickley against 5-foot-9, 210-pound T.J. Gibson, a 34-year-old former amateur kickboxing champion.

"No man intimidates me," Gibson, who lives in Duluth, told the Star Tribune. "I'll be ready. Let's hope he's ready. If he knocks me out, he must be good because I've never been knocked out in kick boxing. If I knock him out, I hope you guys have your cameras ready."

promotional poster for the bout lists Edwards -- who has been tendered as a restricted free agent but isn't expected to return if he's unrestricted under the next labor agreement -- as a "former MN Viking."

He signed a contract last month for two bouts, with a guaranteed payoff of $5,000 for each fight plus 50% of the gate. Edwards, 26, has boxed for years as part of his training regimen but never has stepped into the ring as a professional.

Here's a video of Gibson (in black trunks) having ... eh, a little bit of a rough time in a 2008 mixed martial arts bout against Nick Penner.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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In this story: Ray Edwards