News

George Zimmerman plans celebrity boxing match

George Zimmerman plans celebrity boxing match

IN THE RING: Zimmerman's plans to enter the ring come after he successfully capitalized on his celebrity in December by auctioning a flag painting on eBay, selling the artwork for just over $100,000. Photo: Associated Press

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) – George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of second-degree murder last year in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, plans to take up celebrity boxing and is on the lookout for an opponent, the website Radar Online reported.

Zimmerman, 30, linked to the Radar Online report in a post on his Twitter account with the words, “Here we go.”

Promoter Damon Feldman is behind the celebrity boxing match, set to take place on March 1, according to Radar Online.

“Boxing isn’t new to me,” Zimmerman told Radar Online in an article posted on the celebrity news outlet’s website last week.

Zimmerman began boxing long before the February 2012 incident with 17-year-old Martin that drew national attention, he told Radar Online. The case polarized the nation around issues of racial justice, self defense and gun control.

Zimmerman’s plans to enter the ring come after he successfully capitalized on his celebrity in December by auctioning a flag painting on eBay, selling the artwork for just over $100,000.

Some of the proceeds from the event would go to an animal rescue charity, Zimmerman told Radar Online, but he declined to name the organization. He also suggested he might not box again after the event.

“Obviously if I get my butt kicked around, then no!” he told the website.

Rappers DMX and the Game have both put their names in the running as possible opponents. The Game, who has an image of Martin tattooed on his leg, admitted this week he would take pleasure in resoundingly defeating Zimmerman, while DMX has now voiced his hopes of stepping into the ring with him to fight for “every black person who has been done wrong (sic) in the (legal) system”.

Prosecutors accused Zimmerman of profiling, following and shooting Martin, a guest in a gated neighborhood in the town of Sanford, Florida, as Martin was returning from a trip to a convenience store to buy Skittles and iced tea. Zimmerman claimed self defense.

Zimmerman, who was a neighborhood watch captain at the time of the shooting, in July 2013 was acquitted by a jury of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in Martin’s death.

The trial put the spotlight on Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law, which allows someone in fear of his or her life to shoot.

Since his acquittal, Zimmerman has had several brushes with law enforcement officials. He has twice been stopped for speeding, once in Texas and in Florida.

In September, Zimmerman was questioned by police after his estranged wife called authorities saying he threatened her with a gun. He was not charged in the incident, which occurred a week after she filed for divorce.

Zimmerman was arrested in November on domestic violence charges that were dropped last week after his girlfriend withdrew her complaint.

(Reporting by Barbara Liston; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Dan Grebler)

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