DiBella Entertainment has signed heavyweight contender Jerry “Slugger” Forrest (26-3, 20 KOs), a 6-foot-1 southpaw from Newport News, VA, to an exclusive promotional agreement.
Forrest was born in Lafayette, LA, but moved to Virginia as a young child when his father enlisted in the Navy. His boxing aspirations began after a series of high school senior year brawls convinced Forrest that he had the aptitude to compete in the sweet science. Accumulating a 34-5 amateur record, Forrest won gold medals four times at the Virginia State Golden Gloves tournament, four times at the Washington D.C. Regionals tournament, twice at the California Tournament of Champions, and once at the North Carolina Golden Gloves. He also competed in the National Golden Gloves tournament twice and made it to the semi-finals of the 2012 Olympic Qualifiers.
His ring nickname, “Slugger”, was given to him at birth by his grandmother.
“My mother’s bloodstream got poisoned while pregnant with me and she had to have an emergency Caesarean section,” said Forrest. “The doctors told my family that I probably wouldn’t make it through the night. When my grandmother saw me in the incubator, she said, ‘You have to be a fighter, you have to be a slugger. If you die, my daughter will want to die. That can’t happen.’ When she said that, I started to respond and it was the first time that I opened my eyes. From day one, ‘Slugger’ was my nickname.”
Forrest turned pro in 2012, winning seven of his first nine bouts. Those two early career setbacks paved the way for a rededicated Forrest to win his next 18 fights. Following an impressive win against the 19-2 Joshua Tufte, Forrest challenged unbeaten prospect Jermaine Franklin on July 12, 2019, live on SHOWTIME’s “ShoBox” series. After 10 rounds, Forrest felt that he had clearly outboxed his adversary, but would lose a controversial split decision. Many ringside observers believed Forrest deserved the victory, including all three of SHOWTIME’s commentators. Barry Tompkins and Steve Farhood both had Forrest winning seven rounds, while Raul Marquez had him the winner by eight rounds to two. Trained by Anthony Chase and managed by James Hogan, Forrest rebounded from that loss with a second-round knockout of Martez Williamson last September.
While starting his boxing journey, Forrest got married and now has three children. To make ends meet, he had a career as a nuclear electrician, working for Huntington Ingalls Industries on submarines and aircraft carriers for 10 years. Nearing the end of 2019, Forrest made the decision to move on and fully focus on boxing.
He is also heavily involved with charitable causes in his community, helping to steer inner city youth away from crime and street life. Forrest is active in such programs as Gladiator School Boxing, Together Lives Change (TLC) and the Future Actors and Media Makers (F.A.M.M.) Project, all of which provide kids with academic, athletic and vocational training.
“When I watched Jerry’s fight against Franklin, not only did I think he deserved to win, I saw a fighter with a lot of talent and potential. I’m thrilled to add him to the DiBella Entertainment roster,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “With his size, style and strength, Forrest can be a big player in the heavyweight division.”
“Lou called me the day after I lost to Franklin and, from then on, I knew we’d be working together,” said Forrest. “This is an unbelievable moment for me and my family, not simply because I signed with a promoter, but because of who signed me. Lou was the only promoter that I wanted to be with because of his heart and the man that he is. I can’t wait to make my family proud and make Lou proud. The better I look, the better he looks.
“There are a lot of good fighters in the heavyweight division right now, but I believe that I train harder than any of them. I’m an old school gym rat. Like Muhammad Ali said, ‘Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’ I love the craft of boxing and I have a calculated style, but I also have that killer instinct inside of me. I know that I can compete at the top level.”