Bells will be ringing Dec. 18th at Twin River Casino, but not the ones you’ve grown accustomed to hearing at this time of year.
Following another successful season of toe-to-toe fights, epic main events and a surplus of rising stars as the preeminent combat sports promoter in the northeast, CES Boxing is closing out 2015 the only way it knows how, with a holiday party guaranteed to leave fight fans in the giving spirit.
CES Boxing returns to its home base at Twin River on Friday, Dec. 18th, 2015 with its year-end “Holiday Bash,” featuring 11 action-packed bouts, live entertainment and a special appearance by jolly Ol’ St. Nick himself.
“This is more than just another boxing event,” CES president Jimmy Burchfield Sr. said. “It’s a party, and we want our fans to celebrate the holiday season with us as a way of giving thanks for another tremendous season of boxing while looking ahead to all the great things we have in store for everyone beginning in 2016.”
The Dec. 18th event will be held in conjunction with the Toys For Tots Foundation. All fans in attendance are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy, which can be left in the collection boxes conveniently located in Twin River’s Interactive Fan Zone (West Lobby).
“Enjoy this night,” Burchfield Sr. said. “Celebrate with us. Wear red, green and white. We want everyone to feel the holiday spirit from the moment that first bell rings up until the final bout of the evening.”
Three of New England’s top prospects headline the “Holiday Bash,” starting with unbeaten Worcester, Mass., junior middleweight Khiary Gray (10-0, 8 KOs), who has now won each of his last seven fights by knockout; fellow junior middleweight Jimmy Williams (9-0-1, 5 KOs) of New Haven, Conn., in his Twin River debut; and the long-awaited return of Lowell, Mass., middleweight “Irish” Joey McCreedy (15-8-2, 6 KOs).
Tickets are priced at $40.00, $75.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and available for purchase online at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 401-724-2253/2254, or at the Twin River Casino Players Club. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
As an added bonus, the Dec. 18th “Holiday Bash” also features a live performance by Grammy nominated recording artist Karina Pasian of New York City, plus the induction of former CES ring announcer and current Brockton, Mass., Mayor Bill Carpenter into the CES Ring of Honor.
Whose bell will be rung first on Dec. 18th? Lately, it’s been whoever has stood toe-to-toe with Gray, the rising knockout artist and reigning Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) Northeast Junior Middleweight Champion looking for another victory as he continues his unprecedented run of 11 bouts in just 18 months as a professional.
Gray hasn’t gone the distance since his third pro fight in November of 2014. His fourth bout began a streak of six consecutive wins by first-round knockout. That streak ended in October when South Carolina’s Kevin Cooper took him to the second round, but the fight ended shortly thereafter with another knockout win by Gray, making it seven in a row via stoppage in the past 13 months.
Whoever stands opposite Gray on Dec. 18th hopes to do what no fighter has done in more than a year while Gray is aiming to defend his title and extend his knockout streak.
“I’m just happy to fight again and looking forward to going 11-0,” Gray said. “You guys won’t want to miss it. Someone’s getting knocked out and it’s not going to be me.”
In just a short amount of time, Gray has risen from distinguished amateur to sought-after professional, one of the most feared fighters in the northeast, but he’s not the only 154-pounder turning heads in New England. Williams, a former college football player turned boxer, ends a 10-month layoff and puts his unbeaten record on the line in his Twin River debut.
The New Haven junior middleweight suffered a right thumb injury during his knockout win over Eddie Caminero in February, but stayed in the gym and continued to work on his strength and conditioning throughout his recovery. Dec. 18th marks the third time both Williams and Gray will appear on the same card, perhaps another precursor to a potential showdown between the two in what would be one of the most highly-anticipated New England fights in recent memory.
For now, Williams is simply looking to get past Dec. 18th as he continues to balance life both in and outside of the ring; in addition to his career as a professional boxer, Williams is also an elementary school teacher at Forest Hill in West Haven and is also the West Haven High School freshman football coach, a perfect fit given his stint as a defensive back at Southern Connecticut State University.
Also making his long-awaited return to the ring is McCreedy, the most seasoned of the three Dec. 18th headliners. Since his last bout in September of 2014 against Rich Gingras, McCreedy has battled and conquered personal issues outside of the ring and rededicated himself to his conditioning, dropping from 175 pounds in his most recent fight to 160 for his six-round bout on the 18th against Texas’ Emmanuel Sanchez (6-4, 1 KO).
The undercard of the “Holiday Bash” features more of New England’s rising stars, including undefeated Worcester super lightweight Freddy Sanchez (6-0, 5 KOs), CES’ most recent signing, who puts his record on the line against dangerous New York vet Sidney Maccow (4-3, 3 KOs) in a six-round bout.
Providence, R.I., natives Phil Dudley and Cido Hoff, fighting out of Rhode Island’s 401 Boxing, make their professional debuts in separate four-round bouts; Dudley faces Lawrence, Mass., lightweight Jacob Solis (1-1) and Hoff battles unbeaten super featherweight Timmy Ramos (2-0, 2 KOs) of Framingham, Mass., whom Hoff faced twice as an amateur.
Marlboro, Mass., super featherweight Julio Perez (2-0) aims for his third win of the year against former Greater Lowell Golden Gloves standout Josh Bourque of Salem, N.H., in Bourque’s professional debut and New Bedford, Mass., junior welterweight Ray Oliveira Jr. (3-0, 1 KO) battles 34-fight Brockton vet Antonio Fernandes. Both are four-round bouts.
Pawtucket, R.I., vet and fan-favorite Eddie Soto (12-9, 4 KOs) makes his Rhode Island homecoming in a four-round bout, his first fight in his home state since 2012, and Albanian middleweight Fatlum Zhuta (1-0-1, 1 KO) of Alaska makes his Twin River debut, also a four-round bout.