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Hall call for Gross

Posted: April 16, 2018 3:46 p.m.
Updated: April 17, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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SHELBY GROSS

In a colorful career which took him from competing in toughman contests throughout the region to training for a career in his family’s horse stable in Boonetown to becoming a world champion, Shelby Gross enjoyed a wild ride in the world of boxing.

Friday night, that journey will culminate with the North Central graduate’s taking his place in the Carolinas Boxing Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be held at the Sheraton Airport hotel in Charlotte as Goss will be part of a class which also includes 1988 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist and former World Boxing Organization world heavyweight champion Ray Mercer.

Nicknamed “The Boonetown Brawler” when he first turned professional, Gross started his career inside the ring by winning six toughman titles. He made his professional boxing debut with a first round knockout of Ivan Anderson on December 10, 1996 at the former Bubba and Bucks in Columbia. 

Gross finished his career with a 15-6 record which included winning his first intercontinental belt with an eighth round knockout of Jeff Holcomb in Memphis on May 4, 2004. Two years later, on March 31, 2006 Gross was a 22-to-1 underdog in his fight against Bobby Gunn for the vacant IBA cruiserweight belt vacated by James Toney. Gross earned the title with a spectacular second round knockout of Gunn, who entered the ring with a 15-1 record, to capture the world championship. 

Included in Gross’ professional resume were fights with soon-to-be world light heavyweight world champion Antonio Tarver, in Gross’s fifth professional bout, a nationally televised contest held in Philadelphia’s famed Blue Horizon Arena, on Aug. 12, 1997. After his win over Gunn in 2006, Gross traveled to Dubai to take on three-time heavyweight champion Michael Moorer whom he fought and lost to in a fight staged at Sheikh Rashid Hall in Dubai, UAE. 

Gross brought professional boxing to E. Clarkson Rhame City Arena in Camden on Oct. 23, 1998 on a card on which he was a headliner. On that evening, he out-pointed his opponent, Ernest Bruce. 

Gross later ran a gym in Camden for young boxers while bringing in his professional boxing friends such as World Boxing Association world welterweight champion Luis Collazo to train among the up and coming fighters from Kershaw County. Gross resides and operates his own business in Virginia.

Gross’ longtime coach and confidant Sean Fink will give the enshrinement speech at Friday’s Hall of Fame dinner.

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