CES Boxing returns to Twin River Casino on Saturday, Sept. 16th, 2017with an action-packed fight card featuring New England’s best and brightest prospects, a bevy of storylines on an important night for professional boxing both in and out of the region.
The entire 12-fight card airs live on Facebook via FIGHTNIGHT LIVE. CES Boxing debuted on the fan-friendly streaming platform Aug. 26th in Connecticut and set a Facebook record with 201,935 views, more than tripling the previous high of 63,000.
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. Doors open at 5 p.m. ET and the first fight begins at 5:45.
Next weekend’s event also includes a unique opportunity for fight fans to enjoy the highly-anticipated Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez Pay Per View showdown, also scheduled for Sept. 16th in Nevada.
The official Sept. 16th Williams-Rodriguez after party will be held at Murphy’s Law in Pawtucket, R.I., and CES Boxing is offering an exclusive $55.00 ticket that includes general admission to the live Twin River event, plus admission to the after party for the PPV showing of GGG-Canelo, in addition to a complimentary deluxe buffet and door prizes.
The main event stars two intriguing welterweights battling for championship glory on the region’s biggest stage. After defeating Bronx vet Issouf Kinda by knockout in a controversial bout at Foxwoods Resort Casino in August, New Haven, Conn., vet Jimmy Williams jumps right back into the fire less than three weeks later on Sept. 16th to face New Jersey’s “The Beast” Juan Rodriguez Jr., replacing the injured Khiary Gray in the main event.
Last month, Williams, a full-time truancy officer for the West Haven school department, fought in memory of a Branford, Conn., youth who drowned in a river. Shortly after his Sept. 16th return was announced, Williams’ wife, Christina, gave birth to twin boys, Logan and Austin.
Now 14-0-1, Williams has won 10 consecutive bouts. Sept. 16th will be the second defense of his WBC USNBC welterweight championship. The resilient Rodriguez is back on the map following a win over 20-fight vet Alex Perez in 2016, which ended a three-fight losing streak, the longest of his career.
In the welterweight division, Taunton, Mass., vet Marqus Bates, the half-brother of New England Patriots’ practice squad linebacker Trevor Bates, returns to face Travis Demko of Stoughton, Mass. Bates is now 2-1, winning back-to-back fights by first-round knockout after losing his debut in September of 2016. Bates, 31, is making up for lost time this year; he spent the ages of 25 through 28 incarcerated for multiple infractions. The Bates’ father was a standout athlete at Taunton High School. Trevor is back on New England’s practice squad this year for the second consecutive season.
Demko, 4-1, ends a 16-month layoff next weekend after an automobile accident in June of 2016 in which his car flew into a tree. Demko was airlifted to the hospital that night and listed in critical condition. He fractured two vertebrae in his neck, two in his back, broke his nose and suffered four broken ribs. He was in a coma for two days. His incredible recovery culminates next weekend with what will be the toughest fight of his career following a loss to Mohammad Allam in May of 2016.
The female bantamweight showdown between Marcia Agripino of Groton, Conn., and New Yorker Federica Bianco could steal the show. Both are accomplished professionals outside of the ring. Agripino is a nurse at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital while Federica is an astrophysicist and research scientist at the NYU Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics. Born in Genova, Italy, she received her undergraduate degree in Astronomy from the University of Bologna before moving to the United States. As a fighter, she is 2-1 with one knockout. Agripino is back for the first time since 2013 when she fought to a draw with Michelle Cook, dropping her record to 1-0-1.
Kendrick Ball Jr., of Worcester, Mass., aims for his eighth professional win in his 10th bout since turning pro in May of 2016 when he faces 7-1-1 Pablo Velez Jr., of Durham, N.C. Ball Jr. has been one of the region’s most active fighters, fighting on nine shows in his first 13 months as a pro. He recently scored a win over previously unbeaten Godson Noel of New Jersey. The combined record of his last four opponents prior to Velez is 16-1-3. With Velez, the record jumps to 23-2-4, an unmatched level of competition for any fighter in this region.
Providence, R.I., super featherweight Michael Valentin, now 1-0, returns fresh off his first-round knockout win in his pro debut in June to face newcomer Henry Garcia of New Bedford, Mass., a protégé of the legendary “Sucra” Ray Oliveira. At 18 years old, Valentin is the youngest fighter on the card. He went 35-7 as an amateur and won several titles before turning pro. Valentin was born with Hirschsprung’s, a rare intestinal disease. He was unable to have regular bowel movements and wore diapers throughout elementary school. He underwent more than 10 surgeries before he turned 11 and battled constant bullying throughout childhood.
Providence lightweight Anthony Marsella Jr. also returns to Twin River for the fifth time to face 20-fight vet Israel Rojas of Sonora, Mexico. Unbeaten at 5-0, Marsella Jr. picked himself up off the canvas in June to defeat tough Texan Abraham Torres on the scorecards. Marsella Jr. has recently been spending his entire training camps in Las Vegas, working out of the Mayweather Boxing Club, before returning home to put the finishing touches on his preparations. The battle-tested Rojas recently scored a knockout win in his last bout on Aug. 24th in Mexico.
Also returning Sept. 16th, hard-hitting, 6-foot-4 Sicilian heavyweight Juiseppe Cusumano continues his tour of the northeast in his third bout since signing with CES Boxing in 2017. Fresh off a first-round knockout win over Robert Dunton on Aug. 26th, which ran his record to 12-1 with 10 knockouts, Cusumano faces his toughest challenge against 5-2-2 Matt McKinney of Oceanside, Calif.
Before boxing, McKinney attended San Diego State University, where he specialized in psychology as a student of advanced studies. He fought on the GGG-Daniel Jacobs undercard at Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick’s Day weekend in March and scored a majority decision win over unbeaten Jay McFarlane, a popular Scottish boxer. The win was a dream come true for McKinney, who grew up idolizing Jack Dempsey, the heavyweight legend who also fought at MSG in 1920. Cusumano has won 10 in a row, the last six by knockout.
Sparks will also fly in the junior middleweight division when Ray Oliviera Jr., of New Bedford returns for the first time since April to face Meriden, Conn., vet David Wilson. Both fighters are coming off the first losses of their pro careers; Oliveira Jr. dropped a close decision to Casey Kramlich in April while Wilson recently suffered a narrow, majority decision loss to 10-fight vet Erik Spring. Trained by his father, “Sucra” Ray, the 26-year-old Oliveira Jr. was supposed to face Jose Rivera in a rematch in June, but Rivera sustained an injury the week of the fight. Wilson makes his Rhode Island debut on Sept. 16th. At 5-1-1, he’s one of only two fighters Ball Jr. has not beaten during his year-and-a-half surge as a pro; the two fought to a draw in July of 2016.
Other solid regional bouts highlight the preliminary card. In the featherweight division, Providence’s Phil Dudley ends a two-year layoff when he faces Worcester’s Philip Davis. Training out of 401 Boxing, Dudley won his only fight in 2015 against Jacob Solis. Davis, a standout soccer player in Worcester after moving to the United States from Liberia, lost a hard-luck decision to Providence’s Ricky Delossantos in his pro debut in April.
Ricky Delossantos, now 2-0, returns Sept. 16th for his toughest test when he faces 2-1-2 Jonathan Perez of Lowell, Mass. Perez, who works full-time as an asset protection agent for the Rite Aid pharmacy chain, was a two-time winner at the USA Boxing championships and captured a New England Golden Gloves championship in 2014. Delossantos has impressed in each of his first two bouts, scoring knockdowns en route to a pair of unanimous decision wins.
The Sept. 16th preliminary card also features an all-Worcester cruiserweight showdown between newcomers Jake Paradise and Rafiel Nyakoko. The 23-year-old Paradise grew up without a father and battled an addiction to prescription drugs. In and out of trouble as a youth, Paradise credits the birth of his son, Wyatt, now 3 years old, with helping him overcome the odds in his boxing career. Originally from New Jersey, the 30-year-old Nyakoko now trains out of Camp Get Right Boxing in Worcester.