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George Foreman: not just a boxer

ATLANTA (BP)–Father. Grill master. Heavyweight boxing champion. Pastor.

At an Atlanta-area book signing at the Buckhead LifeWay Christian Store, George Foreman recounted why he penned “God in My Corner,” a new spiritual memoir detailing Foreman’s life before Christ, his transformation into a Christian and his spiritual journey as a believer and pastor.

“I have written books in the past, but this one is different,” Foreman said. “All of my strength and my success came because God was in my corner. This book spells out exactly what I do, how I got here, and my walk with God.”

In his book, Foreman sets forth details of his childhood, his boxing career and his journey to faith. Because people associate him mostly with boxing, Foreman said he wanted to share the story of his faith and ministry.

“People would always talk to me about my boxing,” Foreman said. “No one understood that I was a pastor first who was moonlighting as a grill salesman to support my 10 children. This isn’t a book about boxing. I wanted to be a preacher, and this book spells out how that happened.”

Among those in line to see Foreman at the May 24 book signing was Larry Wilborn, who attends First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Ga. An avid collector with more than 3,600 signed 8-by-10 photos of celebrities and athletes, Wilborn added a signed photo of the 1990 world heavyweight champion to his collection.

“I am a big boxing fan and a big Foreman fan,” Wilborn said. “He was an inspiration then and an inspiration now.”

Also in line for a little inspiration was 8-year-old Louis Burnette, the 2007 Georgia state boxing champion for the 61-65 pound weight division. Burnette has boxed for more than four years and brought his boxing trophies to show Foreman.

“I like boxing because you can hit people in the ring,” Burnette grinned.

As Burnette walked away, Foreman smiled and said, “I started off just like that.”

Accompanying Foreman on his book tour is George Foreman III. Reflecting on his childhood, he remembered his father’s spiritual side before he even knew of his father’s boxing career.

“My dad has been a pastor all of my life. It wasn’t until I was 4 that I realized that he was also a boxer. I thought, ‘Wow! That’s my dad!’ I was proud, but it is still never easy to see a loved one hit.”

George III said his father has been a true example of what it means to act Christ-like while competing.

“Dad has always told us that boxing is just like any other sport -– you have to do it right, with brains and with training. And you should never throw a punch in anger,” he said. “Before he was a Christian, my dad used to go into the ring thinking, ‘How can I kill this guy?’ Later, he went into the ring thinking, ‘How can I win this fight?’ He was a testimony to other boxers because he would hug them at the end of the match.”

George III expressed gratitude for the opportunities he and his brothers and sisters had as a result of their dad’s success. However, even in light of his father’s hectic business life, George III testified that his father is faithful to his church.

“No matter how much travel we have to do, Dad has always been home on Sunday to preach. He never misses a Sunday.”
“God in My Corner” is available at LifeWay Christian Stores or online at www.LifeWayStores.com.

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  • Jenny Rice