By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
WHEN Amron ‘Sandman’ Sands steps back into the ring, the bout will be a heavyweight matchup between two former basketball players now turned boxers with undefeated streaks on the line.
Raphael “The Nigerian Hurricane” Akpejiori of Nigeria was officially announced as Sands’ opponent for “Rumble In The Bay” to be hosted November 23 at the Bryan Glazer JCC Center in Tampa, Florida.
Akpejiori, a former basketball and football player for the University of Miami Hurricanes, comes into the fight undefeated at 5-0.
Standing at 6’8 and 240 pounds, Akpejiori set a self imposed timeline to become the world heavyweight champion in four years.
This will be his second match in a three-month span under Dever Sports Management and DiBella Entertainment following a nearly six-month layoff.
Currently with a record of 9-0 (8 KOs), Sands last fought on August 23 against American Thomas Hawkins when he scored the knockout one minute and nine seconds into round two at the Bryan Glazer JCC Auditorium in Tampa, Florida.
“He actually came to fight. It was good. I knocked him out,” Sands told The Tribune after the fight. “As the fight progressed, I saw more opportunities for me to go inside and work on him. I just threw the over-hand left and the right uppercut and he fell.”
Under Kevin Dever Sports Management, Sands joined DiBella Entertainment as the latest addition to its roster of heavyweight prospects.
“I signed with DiBella Entertainment because Lou is one of the most trustworthy promoters in boxing and he has great relationships in the business to get my name out there,” said Sands. “I know that, with his guidance, I can become the heavyweight champion of the world. I can box and I can bang and I’m what the heavyweight division needs. I’m very excited about my future and am ready to put in the work.”
He made his heavyweight debut with a TKO win over Julio Mendoza at the Lakeland Events Center in Lakeland, Florida, on August 5 2017.
He followed with consecutive knockout wins over Eric Evans (November 18 at the Crossroads Arena in Corinth) and Kendrick Houston (February 17 2018 at the Orlando Live Event Center).
He spoiled the debut for Darrell Parker with a TKO at the Florida State Fairgrounds Hall in Tampa on May 18.
Sands made his pro debut at home on the undercard of “The Backyard Rumble” with a unanimous decision over Jerry Butler May 26.
He returned to the US and scored a knockout win over Cade Rodriguez on July 21. He then defeated American journeyman Francois Russell via second round TKO on the undercard of Friday Night Brawl, hosted at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC Auditorium in Tampa, Florida.
“I can do it all. I can box, but I favour brawling, because it shows who has the bigger heart. No one has a bigger heart than me,” Sands said. “I just need to listen to my team and let Kevin do his job. I’ll do mine and we can make it to the top.”