Jon Smith always knew he wanted to be a police officer, but even after a full year on the force, a job that required more than a year of training and sacrifice, the sweet science is the one suspect he can’t apprehend.
More than three years since his professional debut, the 26-year-old Smith, a full-time officer with the Providence Police Department and a Cranston, R.I., native, returns to the boxing ring Friday, Sept. 18th, 2015 at Twin River Casino on the undercard of CES Boxing’s “Mayhem,” where he’ll face Gloucester, Mass., vet Pedro Gonzalez (2-2, 1 KO) in a four-round junior middleweight bout.
Tickets for “Mayhem” are priced at $40.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and available for purchase online at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, by phone at 401-724-2253/2254 or at the Twin River Players Club. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
“Right now, I’m working on managing both careers,” said Smith, who debuted with CES in October of 2012 in a win over Dinis Paiva, “but it’s not easy.
“A lot of times, things get physical at work, then I have to go in the gym and get physical there. It takes its toll.”
The dream of being a police officer always took precedence over Smith’s desire to box. Even growing up as a boxing fan, Smith never actually envisioned himself in the ring throwing hands.
“Then I decided to try it and I ended up being pretty good at it,” he said.
Training with Rhode Island’s Brian Pennacchia, Smith breezed through the amateur ranks, winning the New England Golden Gloves and the Southern New England Championships three times while also advancing to the finals of the Eastern Regionals in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Figuring, “Why stop now?” Smith immediately jumped to the pros after three and a half years as an amateur, winning two bouts in a seven-month span before chasing his real dream.
Training for the academy while boxing professionally “would’ve been really hard,” Smith admits.
“It’s really grueling, an all-day thing, all day, everyday,” he said. “Not only that, boxing is a really tough sport. To do both at the same time would’ve been risky.
“I thought about it, but I don’t always make the smart choice, so I had to listen to my elders on that one, otherwise I would’ve done both and I could’ve hurt and blown my opportunity with my career.”
Smith eventually got the call from Providence, one he didn’t always think would come after trying, and failing, to make it in the past. While training for the academy, Smith recalls how his boxing background helped get him through some of the tougher days.
“We did have boxing in the academy, so that went well, but just being an athlete really helped me out,” Smith said. “Every single day was grueling training. My past experience helped me. Where some people were having trouble, I was doing it and then helping the others get through it. It really pushed me.”
Nothing’s changed. The daily grind continues to challenge Smith in ways he never imagined.
“You never know what can happen,” he said. “I’ve been through some crazy things already in Providence. You run into a couple of crazy things every shift.
“I’ve been in fights, a lot of physicality. Jumping fences, running, chasing – it’s just part of the job. You have to stay safe and watch your back and your partner’s back.”
On Sept. 18th, Smith will have to go it alone – no partner, no calls for backup. It’s the lifestyle he left behind to chase his dream, but one he can’t quite escape just yet.
“It’s just something I had to do,” he admits. “Trying to do both would’ve taken my focus off. It took everything I had to get through all the training, all my time, all my focus. To continue to box might’ve hurt my progress, but now that I’ve been on the force for a year now and I’ve gotten the approval to box again, I’m ready to go. It’s very exciting.”
“Mayhem” is headlined by two title bouts, including the 10-round main event between Rich Gingras (15-4-1, 9 KOs) of Lincoln, R.I., the reigning New England Light Heavyweight champion, and unbeaten challenger Angel Camacho Jr. (14-0, 4 KOs) of Providence; and the six-round co-feature between Worcester, Mass., junior middleweight Khiary Gray (8-0, 6 KOs) and Kenton Sippio-Cook (6-2, 4 KOs) of Austin, Tex., for the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) Northeast Title.
The undercard features several new faces, highlighted by Stoughton, Mass., junior welterweight Travis Demko (3-0, 1 KO), who makes his Rhode Island debut against Mohamed Allam (1-0) of Holyoke, Mass., followed by Worcester junior middleweight Andy Gonzalez (1-0, 1 KO), who battles Boston, Mass., vet Rafael Francis (0-5). Both are four-round bouts.
In an added bonus, New London, Conn., heavyweight and Peter Manfredo Sr. protégé Cassius Chaney (3-0, 2 KOs), a former two-time amateur national champion, makes his Twin River debut against Alando Pugh (1-5-1, 1 KO) of Washington, D.C., in a four-round bout and undefeated Cranston welterweight Nick DeLomba (8-0, 2 KOs) returns from his biggest win in July to face 18-fight vet Jose Guzman (6-11-1) in a six-round bout. Framingham, Mass., junior welterweight Julio Perez (1-0) faces newcomer Pedro Martinez Jr. of Mooresville, N.C., in a four-round bout.
Bronx, N.Y., light heavyweight “Fly” Mike Marshall (1-0, 1 KO) and Worcester super lightweight Freddy Sanchez (5-0, 4 KOs) will be featured on the undercard in separate bouts.
For more information on “Mayhem” visit www.cesboxing.com, follow @CESBOXING on Twitter and Instagram and “like” the official CES Boxing Facebook fan page.