Alabama native Michael Finney talks boxing, and his love for NASCAR

Michael Finney wasn’t very good in team sports growing up, so he took up boxing.

“I tried all of the sports – baseball, football, basketball, even a little soccer – I wasn’t too good in any of those,” he said. “Then my mother said, ‘There is a new boxing gym opening near our house.’ In a few days I was over there to take a look.”

Finney, of Smith’s Station, Ala., was hooked. He had roughly 150 amateur bouts, and in 2008 won a Junior Olympic national championship. Now 21, Finney is 11-0 with nine knockouts as a professional, and June 8 he will try to improve upon that when he takes on Raul Tovar (10-6-1, 4 KOs) at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on a Solo Boxeo telecast (on UniMas); the main event will see Juan Carlos Sanchez defending his super flyweight title against Roberto Sosa.

Finney, a welterweight, is promoted by Top Rank Inc. and managed by Cameron Dunkin, one of the top managers in the game. He’s in good hands.

“Cameron was the first to talk to me,” Finney said. “It was very exciting for me, a kid from Alabama. The key thing for me now is training. I want to do well and I know what kind of work it takes to get to where I want to go – to the big fights.”

Finney indeed has a love for the sweet science. He’s also a huge NASCAR fan.

“My favorite driver is Jeff Gordon,” he said. “I root for car No. 24 every weekend.”

Finney has never been to a NASCAR event, however. It is on his list of things to go.

“I plan to go to my first race this summer,” he said. “I’ll be looking out for car 24.”

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