Toccoa native Eric Perry was walking into a crowded arena in
Alabama far away from home for his professional boxing debut.
He was considered the heavy underdog while fans were cheering the
favored boxer already in the ring. Perry, a 34-year old who started
boxing as an amateur in 2013, was going up against a man boxing in front
of his home crowd, who had more experience than him, a 6-3, 350-pound
opponent who outweighed him by almost 100 pounds.
Perry, making his professional debut said he was anxious and
nervous as he walked toward the ring.
As he drew closer and closer to his opponent, Perry said his nerves
started to ease. Sixty-nine seconds into his first pro fight those
nerves turned into excitement after he knocked out his opponent winning
his first pro fight.
The next day, the former Toccoan who now resides in Texas, drove
all the way back to his hometown Toccoa to celebrate.
“I promised myself if I won this fight, I’m going to get myself
some Bojangles chicken. There is no Bojangles in Texas,” Perry said.
“I told my mom I am treating myself to Bojangles. The next day my
mom treated me to Bojangels. There is one in Alabama, but I wanted the
one in Toccoa. I think it tastes better because its home chicken,” Perry
He also treated himself to Maryland’s fried chicken while in Toccoa.
“My mom also treated me to another spot called Maryland Fried
Chicken and oh, man, that was good. Boy that sausage and gravy with
biscuit and gravy, oh, my God,” Perry said.
Perry says he doesn’t get much traditional southern food living in
Texas, so whenever he is in Toccoa he takes advantage of it, especially
Perry was born in raised in Toccoa. He moved to Mississippi at the
age of 15 and eventually moved to Texas with his wife.
Perry said he has always had an interest in boxing, but did not
have the opportunity to learn the sport when growing up in northeast
Georgia. Perry said he used to slap box with his friends growing
up at the Boys & Girls Club on Whitman Street, but never had the
opportunity to participate an organized boxing.
When he moved to Texas he joined a gym that offered boxing and he
started to train.
While training, his trainer told him that he had potential to
actually compete in the professional ranks.
In 2013, Perry started his boxing career as an amateur.
In his amateur bouts, he won the 2015 Golden Gloves, 2016 HORN
national championship and in 2017 he won the Open Houston Invitational.
In 2017 he decided to stop competing as a boxer but got phone call
in January of 2020 from a promoter asking him if wanted to turn pro and
have his professional debut fight in Alabama.
Perry accepted the offer and went from amateur and worked his way
up to a four round pro boxer. Fifteen days afterward he was walking into
his first pro fight.
“It is electrifying it’s almost overwhelming,” Perry said.
“I am not from Alabama. He is from Alabama he has his family there
he had his friends there,” Perry said.
“Everyone there is cheering for him and it becomes intimidating. I
remember the day of the weigh-in,” he said.
“I stood there face-to-face with him and I heard someone in the
background saying ‘easy work’,” Perry said.
When Perry got into the ring, he said he stared down his opponent.
There was no backing out now.
“I looked into his eyes and he is smirking at me because he is full
of confidence. He has his family and friends there,” Perry said.
“He is full of confidence. He has his family and friends there and
the building is electrifying. The tension is the highest I have ever
felt,” Perry said.
“You walk in and you can suffocate just from the tension alone. I
am standing there looking at my opponent. He is looking at me I don’t
think he realized he was actually in real danger until the night of the
fight. When he stood in front of me I saw fear sweep across his face. I
never ever take my eyes off my opponent,” he said.
Perry said his eyes were still locked in on his opponent when he
saw his opponent fall to the ground when he delivered his knockout punch.
Perry’s next fight is Dec. 12 in Alabama.
As a four-round boxer, he does not see the big checks that 10 round
boxers and 12-round boxers see.
Perry is seeking sponsors because as a four round fighter he has to
pay fees to fight to promoters.
For information to help sponsor Perry, he could be reached through
email at email@example.com and through telephone at 346-287-0697.
Perry says he wants to represent Toccoa well when he is boxing.
“The reason why I wanted to reach out to sponsors in Toccoa because
one is because that is where I am from and, two, I want to represent my
city.,” Perry said. “This where I learned how to fight growing up on Ridgecrest going
to the Boys and Girls Club hanging out on Whitman street,” Perry said.
“This is where I learned how to fight living on Defoor Road. This
is where I learned how to fight. I am a representative and a product of
my environment and I want to represent my community. That is my number
one goal,” he said. “I was not going to turn professional. I turned professional
because of the people in Toccoa. I turned pro because I wanted to be an
inspiration to them,” he said.