Julien “Black Dragon” Baptiste has been suffering performance anxiety in the ring, which has left him in a precarious position heading into his June 10th main event fight headlining ”Fight Night at the Vets Club”, presented by Granite Chin Promotions’ (GCP) at the Veterans Club in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.
Baptiste (4-3, 2 KOs), of Woburn (MA), is matched against Ryan Thomas Clark (2-3, 1 KO), of Barrington (NH), in a throwback New England rivalry match, in the six-round, main event for the vacant United States Boxing Federation (USBF) middleweight title.
Baptiste is a solid all-around boxer, but “head games” have taken its toll during his pro career, and now he’s in a crossroads fight.
“It’s just one of those things,” Baptiste explained his performance anxiety, “but it’s time to go. I need to beat my performance anxiety in this fight. I’ve been aware of it because it’s shown in my performances. I’ve been dealing with performance anxiety since I was a kid and it’s been more evident in my last few fights. I need to get past this. We’ve been training differently and I’m feeling very confident about what’s to come.. I’m getting a different view from my coach, Brandon Montella.”
Baptiste and Clark are familiar with each other. In fact, they split a pair of amateur matches. “Black Dragon” won a split decision in 2016, lost a unanimous decision in 2015.
“The last time I saw Ryan was in the amateurs,” Baptiste remembered. “He won the first, I won the second. It’s seven/eight years since we last met in the ring. I hope he’s been training during that time because I have been in the gym every day since we fought. I just need to perform. I hope he’s ready because I will.”
Last November in his most recent fight, also contested at the Vets Club, Baptiste lost a six-round majority decision to Tony Andreozzi for the Mass. state middleweight title.
“That fight was very disappointing,” Baptiste admitted. “He had a great game plan and executed it. I lost, he won; I’m moving forward. An impressive win will get me moving in my career, possibly getting me another shot at a big fight. It is for a title. I need to keep training hard and listen to my life coach and Brandon.”
“Julien is a great guy, and he has a TON of potential,” GCP president Chris Traietti commented. “Everyone who knows him agrees on both counts. He’s just been inconsistent with his in-ring performances. In all of his fights he shows his toughness and resilience, regardless of what is going in his head he never gives up and continues to give it hell. His losses speak for that, two split decision losses and a majority decision loss. We are all hoping 2023 is his year to win the mental battle going on in his head and perform to the level he is capable of. It is not too late at all for him to turn the ship around and it could be quite the opposite. Who doesn’t love a comeback story, especially when it involves one of the most personable, humble fighters you will ever meet.”
Also slated to fight on the “Fight Night at the Vets Club” are former New England Welterweight Champion Mike “Bad Man” Ohan, Jr. (17-2, 9 KOs), of Holbrook (MA), 2020 USA Boxing Elite National Champion Arika Skoog (1-0-1, 1 KO), of Roxbury (MA), unbeaten Lynn (MA).super middleweight James “Pitbull” Perkins (11-0-1, 8 KOs), and Scituate (MA) heavyweight Kevin Nagle (1-0,1 KO).
Tickets are priced at $60.00 (floor seats), $40.00 (standing room only), and $400.00 for ringside tables of 4 are available for purchase at granite chin promotions.ticketleap.com.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. ET, first bout at 7 p.m. ET.