With Friday’s highly-anticipated fight card at Twin River Casino Hotel just three days away, unbeaten super welterweight prospect Lamont Powell is preparing for the toughest challenge of his young career.
The 25-year-old Powell (3-0, 1 KO), a Providence, R.I., native faces Italian-born Luca Podda, who boasts seven wins in nine pro fights, including three by knockout. The four-round bout between Powell and Podda highlights a stacked, nine-fight card promoted by CES Boxing featuring the return of reigning WBC World Youth Lightweight Champion Jamaine Ortiz of Worcester, Mass.
Before turning pro in 2013, Podda, 31, competed in the World Series of Boxing, an international tournament that allows fighters to compete professionally while maintaining amateur status. He debuted in Lazio, Italy, across the Tyrrhenian Sea where he grew up on the Italian island of Sardinia. Podda fought each of his nine pro fights in his homeland, winning his first seven, before relocating to Miami, where he now trains under the guidance of former Brooklyn light heavyweight Naseem Deen.
For Powell, it’s been business as usual in 2019; he fought for the first time this year in February, winning in impressive fashion against tough Canadian Kenny Chery to improve to 3-0. A savvy boxer, Powell has yet to lose a round in his pro career, including his first and only knockout win in November when he stopped Marcos Rosa at the 1:22 mark of the opening round.
Powell’s stablemate, Providence lightweight Michael Valentin (5-0, 1 KO), also puts his unbeaten record on the line in a four-round bout when he faces Saint Louis, Mo., native Charles Johnson (0-2-4), a late replacement for Worcester’s Philip Davis, who was forced to withdraw from the card. Johnson, who also boasts a 7-2 record in professional mixed martial arts, fought to a draw in each of his first three boxing matches and again in his most record bout April 6th against Missouri’s Tyjuan Townsend.
Originally scheduled to faces Joseph Clark of upstate New York, New Bedford, Mass., native Wilson Mascarenhas (0-1) now battles Virginia’s Stacey Anderson (0-5) in a bout between two fighters in search of their first career win. Mascarenhas returns for the first time since February of 2018 while Anderson makes his third appearance at Twin River in the last six months. He previously battled Nicholas Briggs and Arnold Gonzalez.
Tickets are priced at $47, $102, $127 and $152 and are available online at www.cesboxing.com or www.
In the main event, Ortiz (10-0, 5 KOs) faces Brazilian challenger Vitor Jones (15-4, 9 KOs) in an eight-round bout, Ortiz’s first since capturing the WBC title in February. A native of Salvador, Jones returns to the United States for the second time this year and the ninth time in his career. The 25-year-old right-hander made his professional debut in 2012 under the guidance of Banner Promotions and won his first 13 fights, including victories over southpaw Guillermo Sanchez and former Brazilian title-challenger Sidney Siqueira.
Ortiz, a decorated amateur who won 100 fights and advanced to the semifinals of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in Nevada, comes off his most noteworthy achievement as a professional, a unanimous decision win over previously unbeaten California native Ricardo Quiroz for the WBC Youth crown on Feb. 23rd.
Unbeaten at 7-0, Ricky Delossantos, faces durable Mexican featherweight German Meraz (62-54-2, 39 KOs) in an eight-round bout, the toughest test to date for the 29-year-old Pawtucket, R.I., native. Meraz’s long-running career features 62 wins, including 39 by knockout. Next Friday is his fifth fight of the year and 13th since the beginning of 2018, a remarkable stretch highlighted by a three-fight win streak between last April and June.
Meraz has also gone the distance with unbeaten featherweights Tramaine Williams, Irvin Gonzalez, Jason Sanchez, Ruben Villa and Gadwin Rosa, a tall order for Delossantos, who, like Ortiz, is coming off his most impressive win, outworking U.S. Army vet Javar Jones in February.
Highlighting the undercard is a long-awaited six-round welterweight showdown between Massachusetts natives Marqus Bates (6-2, 4 KOs) of Taunton and undefeated Wilfredo Pagan (6-0, 3 KOs) of Southbridge. Pagan remained unbeaten with a win over Carlos Galindo in March while Bates won his fourth in a row via knockout in an impressive showing February at Twin River against regional rival Jair Ramos. Next Friday is Pagan’s first fight outside of Massachusetts while Bates returns to Twin River for the eighth time in nine fights.
Victor Reynoso (3-0, 3 KOs), a Providence, R.I., native and hard-hitting super welterweight, puts his unbeaten record on the line against Miami’s Yasmani Pedroso (2-5, 1 KO) in a four-round bout. Reynoso faced a tall task in February againstJohn Williams and entered the fourth and final round needing a knockout to pull out the victory. He caught Williams with an overhand right at the 1:31 mark, sending his opponent into the ropes and prompting referee Shada Murdaugh to stop the bout.
Briggs (3-0, 2 KOs), a Worcester native, returns in a four-round bout against veteran Latorie Woodberry (2-8-2) of Roanoke, Va. This will be Woodberry’s second appearance and first since February of 2018 when he battled Bates to a four-round unanimous decision. Briggs recently upended the durable Andy Aiello in February, scoring a knockdown en route to a clean sweep on all three scorecards.
Next Friday’s card also features the Twin River debut of Rhode Island junior middleweight Anthony Concepcion (2-0, 2 KOs), who battles Brazil’s Leonardo Ladeira (0-0) in a four-round bout.