Cruiserweight sensation Sam “The Vanilla Gorilla” Crossed of Greenbelt, Maryland, was triumphant in his first fight back on July, 15, 2017, after breaking his right hand in his last bout in October 2016. Crossed won by fourth round knockout over his most experienced opponent to date, 14-fight veteran James Jones of Nashville, who was on a two-fight win streak. With the win Crossed improves his record to 6-0 with 4 knockouts.
“I felt very relaxed in there and the hand felt great,” Crossed said. “I have been training with Ernesto for the last year and I have learned more in that time than I have learned since I started boxing.” Ernesto Rodriguez in also the trainer of IBF Jr. Middleweight World Champion Jarrett Hurd.
Crossed’s team hopes to get him back in the ring as soon as possible after his eight-month layoff.
“I would like to get him three more fights this year,” Crossed’s manager Mike Walters said. “He’s basically learning on the job. He’s also one of the biggest ticket sellers in the area so I don’t think it will be a problem.”
Crossed has a rabid fan base in the Washington, D.C., area, which was evident on Saturday night as he received arguably the loudest cheers of any boxer on the card and by the number of fans in attendance wearing Vanilla Gorilla logo T-shirts and his signature “Make Boxing Great Again” hats. Dan Rafael of ESPN fame described the fighter as having a “cult like following” in an article he wrote in May 2016.
“I am really amazed by how many fans come out to see me fight,” Crossed said. “I think we would have sold even more tickets had they not been so expensive and in the middle of the summer. A lot of people who normally come out were on vacation.”
A feature on Crossed was on the front page of this past Saturday’s edition of The Washington Post sports page. The publication receives more than 90 million views per month. He also appeared on local television to help promote the event.