Spina fighting way out of funk; Mark ‘Oaktree’ Brown set for big night in Atlantic City

PROVIDENCE (August 12, 2008) – Power punching Joey “KO Kid” Spina is fighting his way out of a funk that started nearly two years ago when he lost his first pro fight to Providence cross-town rival The Pride of Providence” Peter Manfredo, Jr., who, ironically, tops the August 22nd “August Annihilator” pro boxing card that Spina is fighting on in the co-feature.

WBC rated No. 20 contender Manfredo (30-5, 15 KOs), star of The Contender Season One, fights Donny “The Savage” McCrary (24-7-2, 13 KOs), star of The Contender Season Three, in the 12-round main event for the NABF Interim super middleweight title, headlining “August Annihilator” at Twin River Events Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

“August Annihilator” part is promoted by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports, Inc. (CES), in association with Twin River, The Tournament of Contenders, and CN8, The Comcast Network. The show will be taped live and air Saturday, August 23 at 7:30 PM/ET on CN8, The Comcast Network as well as Cox Sports Television.

Spina (22-1-1, 15 KOs), former USNBC and IBF Intercontinental super middleweight champion takes on former IBC Americas heavyweight title-holder Jim “Steel Chin” Strohl (27-6, 21 KOs), of Las Vegas, in a six-round super middleweight bout. Since his only loss to Manfredo, Spina has won three straight against Shannon Miller, Henry Mayes and David Whittom.

Now rated No. 12 by the WBO as a light heavyweight, Spina has rededicated himself and is working with a new head trainer, Jose Santos. “The loss started a downward spiral because I really didn’t think I’d lose,” Spina explained. “And I broke my hand in that fight. Now, I’m focused on my career, living back at home in Providence (rather than Las Vegas), and fighting to get back to where I was. It was tough fighting in six-round bouts after being in 10 and 12 round fights. I made six figures (vs. Manfredo) and then I was fighting for a few thousand. I was fighting at 176 and I’m making my way back to super middleweight. This fight is at 170. I fought a long time at 168 and I think I’m stronger at that weight, but I’m rated at light heavyweight, and I’ll fight anywhere between 168 and 175.

“This is a big fight for me. Strohl’s 27-5 with 21 knockouts. He’s a big puncher who has come down from heavyweight. I boxed him a lot when I lived in Las Vegas. He’s slow but very strong and always in great shape. I know all about him and I’m a better boxer. I’m going to win impressively, if not by knockout, I’ll outbox him badly. He’s going to be right in front of me and he’ll keep coming. I have to sit down on my punches. I haven’t been getting as many knockouts because the opposition has been better than the guys I fought earlier in my career. I can still put people to sleep.”

On the undercard in a pair of six-round super middleweight bouts, Rhode Island super middleweight Angel Camacho, Jr. (10-0, 4 KOs) puts his undefeated record on the line against Brooklyn’s Ariel Espinal (6-3-2, 2 KOs), while Providence favorite Bobo “The Bull” Starnino (9-4-1, 2 KOs) faces Lowell (MA) brawler “Irish” Joey McCreedy (8-2, 5 KOs) in an old fashioned throw-down.

Also on the undercard card is undefeated middleweight prospect Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (7-0, 5 KOs), former two-time U.S. national amateur champion out of Worcester (MA), squaring off against Marcus “Team Savior” Upshaw (8-2, 3 KOs) in a six-round bout. Former world title challenger, Greek featherweight Sandy “Lil’ Tyson” Tsagouris (7-1, 3 KOs), takes on Adawirky Lopez (1-0), who is a Pan-Am Games gold medal winner, in another six-round match.

Providence junior welterweight Jesus Caro (1-0, 1 KO) tangles with pro debuting Clarence Smith in a four rounder. Providence junior lightweight Omar Pena, who was a 9-time New England Golden Gloves champion, managed by Gary “Tiger” Balletto, fights an opponent to be determined. All bouts and fighters are subject to change.

Tickets for “August Annihilation” are priced at $40.00, $50.00 (Bronze), $75.00 (Silver), $100.00 (Gold) and $150.00 (Jimmy’s Platinum Club SOLD OUT) and are available to purchase by calling CES (401.724.2253/2254), going on line at or, at the Twin River Events Center (100 Twin River Road, Lincoln, RI), at the Players Club booth (2nd floor) at Twin River, or any TicketMaster location.

Tickets are also on sale at Manfredo’s Gym in Pawtucket (RI), 401 Gym in Cranston (RI), Rivera Brother’s in Lynn (MA), Balletto’s Gym in Providence, Big Six Academy in Providence, and Larry Army (508.407.5152).

Contact CES (401.724.2253/2254/ or Twin River Events Center (877.82.RIVER/ for more information. Doors open at 6 PM/ET, first bout at 7 PM/ET.

(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “August Annihilation.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied at all times by an adult and they must enter through the West entrance.)

Mark ‘Oaktree’ Brown set for big night in Atlantic City

Heavyweight Mark ‘Oaktree’ Brown has been added to the card of the Fight Night Productions promoted ‘Casino Battle Royale’ event which is to be held in Atlantic City, NJ later this year.

Fight Night Productions CEO, Jarvis Robinson, on making the announcement said “I am so pleased to have Mark on the card. I think it was a forgone conclusion he would be added after the magnificent show he put on at the Salem fight back in June. I just couldn’t leave him out. He’s a true star. He made that event a huge success and will help make the ‘Casino Battle Royale’ an even bigger success.”

‘Oaktree’ will be looking to add to his already excellent 13 - 1, with six by way of knockout, record after the disappointment of just a few weeks ago when his opponent, Maurice Wheeler, failed to turn up for the weigh-in prior to the ‘Battle on 422’ event.

Brown, who could barely hide his joy of being on the card, said “I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present. (His birthday is the 16th August). This is a big event. I will be up for it. I’m an entertainer, that’s what I do. I fight and entertain. I’ll steal the show. Get me in the ring, don’t care who with, I’ll beat them, cos that’s what I do and I do it with style. You should call me the Entertainer.”

It is expected that further announcements will be made over the coming week as negotiations with two current World Champions, a former World Champion and two National Champions to head up the event are close to being completed.

Article posted on 12.08.2008

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