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Published April 18, 2013, 09:00 AM

Hill trains son while training for farewell fight

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — While North Dakota boxer Virgil Hill trains for what he hopes is his farewell fight, the former world champion also is training one of his sons for his pro boxing debut.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — While North Dakota boxer Virgil Hill trains for what he hopes is his farewell fight, the former world champion also is training one of his sons for his pro boxing debut.

Virgil Hill Jr., 23, excelled at baseball while growing up in California and was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals as an outfielder in the sixth round of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft. The Cardinals recently released him, however, and he is now focusing on a boxing career. He likely will fight in the super middleweight division, Virgil Hill Sr. told the Grand Forks Herald newspaper.

"He's a great kid and a really good athlete," Hill said. "He trains every day. He's a beast. I love training him. It's almost not fair because what I put him through is a lot different from what others go through. It's so hard."

The senior Hill, 49, is a five-time world champion and a 1984 Olympic silver medalist. He is being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., on June 9. He announced in February that he wanted one final fight in North Dakota.

"I want one more fight to say thank you and farewell," he told the Herald.

Hill hopes the bout can happen this fall, in Bismarck, Fargo or Grand Forks. Grand Forks is where his career started, and he said he wouldn't mind seeing his son launch his career there too.

Hill often fought in North Dakota early in his career, and the bouts were televised nationally. He has fought some of the biggest names in boxing, including Thomas Hearns and Roy Jones Jr., but he hasn't fought since 2007 and his last victory came in 2006.

If he does land a farewell fight, his attention afterward will be on his son's career.

"When one door closes, another opens up," he said.

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