Western Massachusetts has become a fertile talent pool for boxing prospects and a sextet of gifted, young fighters from there will be showcased Saturday night, November 13, on Granite Chin Promotions’ “Championship Road” card, streaming live on bxngtv.com from The Rim in Hampton, New Hampshire.
Undefeated “Western Mass. 6” prospects fighting on this Nov. 13th card are Holyoke welterweight Denzel “Double Impact” Whitley (6-0, 5 KOs) and super welterweight Carlos Castillo (3-0, 3 KOs), Pittsfield’s Sumpter brothers Steve (2-0, 2 KOs), a super middleweight, and heavyweight Quinton (1-0, 1 1 KO), and Springfield’s light heavyweight Laurent Humes (2-0, 2 KOs) and middleweight Jamer Jones (1-0, 1 KO). Whitley and Steve are in 6-round bouts, the other four in 4-rounders.
Granite Chin promoter Chris Traietti, who has been associated with the fightin’ Whitley family for 15 years, was trained for years by Derrick and Darren. Today he is promoting Derrick’s son, Denzel, who Traietti has known since Denzel was a kid.
“I started training with Derrick and Darrin out in Holyoke when I was in college in Westfield and his gym was saturated with talent,” Traietti commented.
“It just seemed like there weren’t any promoters out there to give the talent a platform and a road to a successful professional career. I am hoping to change that. Working with Denzel was really an easy fit. I have maintained a tight relationship with the Whitley family for over 15 years. I remember Denzel when he was a little kid bouncing all over Derrick’s car while we were driving to amateur shows. Derrick has been one of the loyal friends I have and the least I can do for all he has done for me is guide his son’s career and bring him to the highest level possible.
“But it isn’t just Denzel, but it started with him. Once I started working with Denzel, Carlos, Jamer, Steve, Quintin, and Laurent came into the frame from various angles. All of them are talented guys and it has been a lot of fun working with each one of them. I am glad their respective trainers have trusted me to further their careers and that is exactly what I will do.”
Denzel and Castillo train at Whitley Brothers Boxing and Fitness in Holyoke, where they are guided by former pro fighters, twin brothers Derrick and Darren Whitley.
“There’s always been a lot of talent here,” Derrick spoke about Western Mass. Boxing. “These young guys today are a special group. Chris (Traietti) has helped a lot of local fighters by giving them opportunities on shows so that they can showcase their talents. I worked with Chris, and he’s watched my sons (Denzel and Derrick Jr.) grow up.
“Me and my brother learned in the ring, we weren’t properly trained. We came from martial arts and then got into amateur boxing. We only had about 15 amateur fights We trained our guys in the amateurs and then were able to teach them to box as professionals. It’s fun training my sons. At first, though, they thought we were bullying them, but we’ve taught them how go in and out, slip and move, counter punch, etc., Now, we have a map to teach them, but boxing is 90-percent mental, and it’s not easy to do, or for everybody.
“Carlos is a boxer-puncher. He and Denzel fought together in the amateurs together and now he’s family. They’re good friends and he married Denzel’s cousin.
Denzel meets John Ferrara (0-1), of Tiverton (RI) in the 6-round, co-featured event. Unlike his trainers and former pro fighters, father Derrick and Uncle Darren, Denzel is becoming much more of an all-round boxer with pop than his brawling relatives.
“We’ve always had talented fighters here,” the 26-year-old Whitley noted, “but now we’re getting much more exposure fighting on this (Granite Chin) platform. I’m trying to grow as a fighter to reach the top 10 and hopefully become world champion but if that doesn’t happen, I want to be the best I can be in this sport.”
“I don’t know much about my opponent because he’s only had one fight. Coming from my background and what my family has done in this sport, my last name is a target for opponents, and it would be a good win for him. It may take a few rounds, but I’ll adjust to him in the ring and do my job.”
Ferrara plans to slowdown Whitley’s rapid ascension. “Coming off a close loss last year,” Ferrera said, “I wanted to fight someone who had a winning record instead of taking the easy route. Chris Traietti offered me good money to fight one of his top prospects (Denzel Whitley), who realty hasn’t been truly tested as a professional. After talking it over with my new trainer, Libby Medeiros, known for working with ’Sucra’ Ray Oliveira, Scott Pemberton, and Jason Pires to name a few, he gave me his consent to take the fight. He came up with able print for our team to execute and walk out with a big upset win. I am looking forward to putting pressure on this young man to the test. Pressure makes diamonds or burst pipes. November 13th we will find out if the hype is real for Denzel.”
Castillo (3-0, 3 KOs) faces Swansea’s (MA) Anthony Andreozzi (0-1). “We have a lot of talent coming out of Western Mass.,” Castillo remarked, “especially now with amateurs turning pro and having opportunities to fight, I think it’s because the fighters’ dedication here is awesome along with good conditioning and amateur experiences. I’d never heard of him (Andreozzi) because he has had only one pro fight and no amateur experience that I know about. If he wants to brawl – it’s not my style – but I’ll be ready for whatever he brings into the ring. I’m more of a boxer, but I can brawl if necessary.”
Andreozzi isn’t going to Hampton just to collect a paycheck. “Castillo is a very talented boxer, Andreozzi commented, “which is a big reason I took the fight. My time in the boxing world has been brief, so I don’t have the body of work to offer a reputation. I’m looking to use my unorthodox and explosive style to prove my worth to those who may doubt me. Moving up a weight class has been a great move for my power and stamina. November 13th, I’m coming in thicker and slicker looking to neutralize as many of his strengths as I am while taking advantage of mine. My goals are different than many others. I’m not in it for the money, fame, glory, or status. I simply want a war leaving the both of us leaking blood, because that’s my happy place in this world.”
Steve Sumpter (2-0, 2 KOs) and 2020 New England Novice Golden Gloves Heavyweight Champion Quinton Sumpter (1-0, 1 KO), respectively, take on Juan Celin Zapata (6-19-2, 4 KOs) and Woburn’s Wewerson Silveira Silva (0-2).
“Absolutely because of our hunger,” Steve remarked about the quality of Western Mass. Fighters. “They haven’t received publicity in Western Mass., so, they’ve been overlooked. Not many top guys have come out of here. We want it! I’m going to keep getting better as a I go. I’ve only seen a little of my opponent, but I’m going to take him out. This fight won’t go past three (rounds).”
“The quality has always been good here,” Quinton added. “though fighters from here haven’t gotten the recognition they deserve, honestly. Granite Chin has good shows and really promotes its fighters and give us opportunities. You have to give credit to the trainers in gym here, too.
“I really don[t know anything about my opponent other than I’ll be his third (pro) fight. It really doesn’t matter. I’m confident and will get in there to fight or spar with anybody. I’m having trouble getting good sparring because there aren’t a lot of super heavyweights here. (N.E. heavyweight champion) Mike Marshall has given me good work from time to time, but our schedules are different.”
Humes (2-0, 2 KOs) throws-down with Woburn’s pro-debuting Thailisson Nunes, while Jones (1-0, 1 KO) is matched against Caleb Denham (0-2).
“I definitely believe out here has become more of a power base because of the growing number of good fighters,” Humes mentioned. “A few I started out with in the amateurs have started their pro careers and are doing well. We’re all undefeated. I think it’s because it’s hard growing up here, poverty-wise, and that’s made us hungry and has pushed our drive. I’m getting better each fight and that’s a bigger problem for my opponents.”
“Absolutely,” Jones agreed that Western Mass. is producing solid prospects. “There’s a lot of talent in Western Massachusetts. I didn’t have as much amateur experience, but I’m able to work with guys who had 40-50 amateur fights, and some pro boxers as well. We push each other to do our best.”
New England welterweight champion Mike “Bad Boy” Ohan (13-1, 7 KOs), fighting out of Holbrook (MA), will be in his first scheduled 10-round bout against Mexican super lightweight Israel “Filipino Tigre” Rojas (14-24, 5 KOs) in their non-title fight, main event.
Guyana-native heavyweight Nkosi Soloman (3-1, 2 KOs), fighting out of Brooklyn, is slated to fight pro-debuting Wewerson Silveira Silva in a 6-round fight.
Also fighting on the undercard, each scheduled for 4 rounds, is Woburn (MA) middleweight Julien “Black Dragon” Baptiste (3-0, 2 KOs) vs. Providence’s pro-debuting Alfred “Keenan” Raymond, Chicago’s pro-debuting middleweight Devin Wright vs. Providence’s Robert “Golden Boy” Nolette (0-1), Lawrence (MA) lightweight “El Gallo” Kevin Rodriguez (2-1, 1 KO) vs. Daron Jenkins (0-5), and Providence (RI) welterweight Damon Towns (3-0, 2 KOs) vs. Chicago’s Calvin Glover (0-2).
Card subject to change.
Tickets priced at $60.00 (ringside) and $40.00 (general admission, in addition to ringside tables of four for $260.00, are available to purchase at www.TicketRiver.com (Search: Championship Road).
Doors open at 5 pm. ET with the first bout at 5:30 p.m. ET.