Khiary Gray heads down to welterweight for Sept 16 return
After establishing his presence as one of the top junior middleweights in the region, Worcester, Mass., slugger Khiary Gray is ready to test his skills at 147 pounds with a major statement in his opening bout.
The hard-hitting Gray (14-3, 11 KOs) makes his welterweight debut Saturday, Sept. 16th, 2017 live on FITE Pay Per View at Twin River Casino against dangerous Union City, N.J., vet Juan Rodriguez Jr. (13-4, 5 KOs) in the eight-round main event of CES Boxing’s fourth installment of the 2017 Twin River Fight Series.
The Gray-Rodriguez main event headlines a stacked 12-fight card that also features a junior middleweight battle between New Bedford, Mass., vet Ray Oliveira Jr. (7-1, 1 KO) and unbeaten Meriden, Conn., native David Wilson (5-0-1, 1 KO), plus the highly-anticipated return of undefeated Providence, R.I., lightweight Anthony Marsella Jr. (5-0, 2 KOs) and 6-foot-4 Sicilian heavyweight Juiseppe Cusumano (11-1, 9 KOs).
Tickets are priced at $47.00, $102.00, $127.00 (VIP) and $152.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at www.cesboxing.com, www.twinriver.com or 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.
The entire 12-fight card also airs live in its entirety on FITE TV Pay Per View for $14.99 beginning at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.
Coming off a loss to Greg Vendetti on June 9th, the resilient Gray will now test the waters in the welterweight division, starting out strong against the veteran Rodriguez Jr., who last fought in August of 2016, dethroning 20-fight vet Alex Perez by split decision.
Rodriguez Jr. is best known for his epic July of 2015 bout against Rhode Island’s Nick DeLomba in which he sent DeLomba to the canvas in the opening round before getting stopped in the fifth. Gray, despite losses in three of his last four bouts, owns a lifetime 10-2 record at Twin River and headlines for the sixth time in his fast-rising career.
While Gray-Rodriguez provides excitement and the potential for fireworks in the welterweight division, Oliveira-Wilson could steal the show as yet another tough test for both stellar junior middleweights. Coming off his first career loss in April, Oliveira Jr. jumps right back into the fire in a six-round bout against the dangerous Wilson, who battled to a draw with unbeaten Kendrick Ball Jr. in his last bout in July of 2016.
Speaking of Ball Jr. (7-0-2, 5 KOs), the 24-year-old Worcester middleweight returns for the 10th time in just 16 months on Sept. 16th when he battles Durham, N.C., vet Pablo Velez Jr. (7-1-1, 5 KOs) in a six-round bout. Ball Jr.’s last four opponents boast a combined record of 16-1-3, including previously unbeaten Godson Noel, whom Ball Jr. defeated in June.
The Sept. 16th undercard also includes several intrastate rivalries and regional showdowns, among them a four-round featherweight bout between Jonathan Perez (2-1-2, 2 KOs) of Lawrence, Mass., and unbeaten Providence native Ricky Delossantos (2-0), plus a potential four-round showstopper in the welterweight division between Stoughton, Mass., native Travis Demko (4-1, 1 KO) and fellow Massachusetts native Marqus Bates (2-1, 2 KOs) of Taunton.
Super featherweight Michael Valentin (1-0, 1 KO) of Providence, who debuted with a sensational first-round knockout win in June, returns to face newcomer Henry Garcia of New Bedford in a four-round bout and Providence featherweight Phil Dudley (1-0) locks horns with Worcester’s Philip Davis (0-1), also in a four-round bout. In the cruiserweight division, Worcester’s Jake Paradise makes his professional debut against fellow newcomer Rafiel Nyakoko, also of Worcester, in a four-round showcase bout.
Also on the undercard, Groton, Conn., bantamweight Marcia Agripino (1-0-1) ends a four-year layoff she faces New York vet Federica Bianco (2-1, 1 KO), a full time astrophysicist and research scientist at New York University. Agripino last fought in Rhode Island in 2013, defeating Vanessa Greco in her pro debut.
Cusumano and Marsella Jr. will also be featured on the undercard in separate six-round bouts. Marsella Jr. faced his toughest test to date in June, picking himself up off the canvas in the fifth round against Texan Abraham Torres before coasting to a unanimous decision win, his fourth in a row at Twin River.
Originally from Sicily but now living and training in Virginia, Cusumano made his Rhode Island and CES Boxing debut in grand fashion in June, sending Dan Biddle to the canvas three times in the second round before referee Eddie Claudio stopped the bout with 24 seconds to go. Cusumano has now won nine consecutive bouts, seven by knockout.
Fight fans can stream the event live on their television by downloading the FITE app free from iTunes or Google Play and using the instant stream-to-TV function for full-screen viewing, or watch online from any device at www.fite.tv. The FITE app also works with any Wi-Fi connected TV, iOS and Android devices, as well as streaming devices such as Roku, Chromecast and more. Replays will be available for those unable to watch live.