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Zbikowski backs out of boxing fight

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LOS ANGELES

Baltimore Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski withdrew Tuesday from his scheduled June 4 boxing match, saying he wants to focus on his NFL career, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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"It was time to start the transition back to football," Zbikowski told the paper in text messages. "My teammates are starting to organize some workouts, so it's just time to head back. Wish I had more time to do both."

Zbikowski was slated to fight cruiserweight Mike Howell at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as part of an HBO telecast June 4. The undercard bout was to precede the middleweight title fight between German champion Sebastian Zbik and Mexico's Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

The 26-year-old, who won three fights this offseason, said he doesn't think he can continue to train for the fight and get ready for the upcoming NFL season, which is still jeopardized by the ongoing lockout.

"It was a very tough decision for me. It was a tremendous experience fighting for [promoter Bob] Arum again," Zbikowski said. "As tough as it is to turn yourself into a fighter, it's equally as tough to transition into an NFL player."

Zbikowski won his last fight April 23 in Oklahoma, defeating Blake Warner by technical knockout in the first round. He tested positive for marijuana after the fight, but days later a second test came back clean and his suspension was lifted.

Arum said the positive test result came from a "contact high."

Zbikowski said in March his goal was to eventually fight his way up to a title shot in the cruiserweight division.

Tagged: Ravens, Tom Zbikowski

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