Unbeaten welterweight Michael Finney is a huge NASCAR fan. "My favorite driver is Jeff Gordon. I root for car #24 every weekend," he said.
Finney, from car race country Smiths Station, Alabama, describes himself an "up and coming fighter" who is 11-0-0. He will box Raul Tovar of Texas on Top Rank's Solo Boxeo Tecate fight card at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 8.
Finney, 21, trains with former champion Richie Sandoval at the Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas. On fight nights, Trainer of the Year Robert Garcia is usually in the corner as well.
Finney noted "while growing up I tried all of the sports -baseball, football, basketball
- even a little soccer. I wasn't too good in any of those."
"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 found his sport. As an amateur boxer he fought over 150 times, won medals and was spotted at the 2009 U.S.Nationals by Cameron Dunkin, who became his manager.
"Cameron was the first to talk to me. It was very exciting for me, a kid from Alabama," Finney said.
"The key thing for me now is training," said Finney, who signed with Top Rank. "I want to do well and I know what kind of work it takes to get where I want to go - to the big fights.
"I plan to go to my first race this summer. I'll be looking out for car 24," he said.
Tickets for the Top Rank boxing event are $50, $25 plus applicable fees and are available at the Hard Rock box office in Las Vegas and at ticketmaster.com