News: Johnson vs Vargas; Spina vs Taylor; Williams vs Hernandez

Star Boxing has been informed by Monte Barrett that he has suffered an injury that has forced him to pull out of his May 15th heavyweight clash with world rated (WBA #5, WBC #10, IBF #14) Kevin "Kingpin" Johnson (21-0-1, 8KO). Barrett reportedly suffered a cut while sparring that has left him ineligible to participate in next weeks ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" main event being held at Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City, NJ..

Fortunately a much better, more compelling opponent has emerged. Replacing Barrett is 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Captain, and fellow undefeated heavyweight prospect Devin Vargas (17-0, 7KO). Vargas, like Johnson, is also promoted by Star Boxing. Vargas was scheduled to face former WBA heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon on the undercard, but jumped at the oppurtunity to fight in the main event against who many believe to be the most highly regarded American Heavyweight.

Johnson vs. Vargas is a very intriguing fight. It matches two young, undefeated heavyweight prospects each in the biggest fights of their respective careers. The winner surely propels themselves into serious title contention and can emphatically stake claim as the top American heavyweight contender.

"We took the disappointing loss of an opponent and turned it into a terrific situation with a much better fight," stated Joe DeGuardia, CEO and President of Star Boxing. "The Johnson-Vargas fight is a true matchup of top heavyweights prospects. Both Kevin and Devin really have stepped up and didn't take the easy way out. They both have the 'moxie' that boxing fans and the heavyweight division want. More fighters should be willing to step it up and fight the best opponents instead of finding excuses to turn down fights. In Devin, Kevin has a much more skilled, and talented fighter then he had in Monte, so we really want to commend Kevin for taking such a dangerous fight on such short notice. We also applaud Devin for stepping in and having the confidence to fight Johnson, who many regard as the top heavyweight contender out there. There is always something special about seeing two undefeated heavyweights putting their 0's on the line."

When asked why he would match two of his hottest prospects against one another, DeGuardia was quick to answer. "We believe in providing the absolute best opportunities for our fighters, the networks, casinos and the fans. This is a great opportunity for both Kevin and Devin, because the winner clearly cements themselves as a top contender in the heavyweight division. We work to put on the best fights we can and just because we promote both fighters we are not going to let that get in the way of opportunities for our fighters. We look forward to a great fight and great show on May 15th."

The card is promoted by Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing, in association with Harrah's Resort. A complete list of the undercard will be announced shortly. Tickets are priced at $90 and $60 and can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 1(800) 745-3000 or going online to Tickets are also available by calling Star Boxing at (718) 823-2000 or by going online to

CES Notebook

Classic Entertainment and Sports, Inc. (CES) president Jimmy Burchfield and his staff are busy all over the world making fights, promoting shows and signing prospects.

“We have ‘Awesome’ Aaron Williams in the biggest fight of his life tomorrow (Saturday) in Germany,” Burchfield explained. “Our world-rated light heavyweight Joey ‘KO Kid’ Spina headlines a show May 22nd at Twin River, featuring the CES debut of James McGirt, Jr., along with some of the best young fighters in New England. And we just signed to co-promote another good middleweight prospect, Marcus Upshaw, who fights tonight (Friday) for the Florida State title in Tampa.”

Williams-Hernandez in Germany

Nine-time amateur champion “Awesome” Aaron Williams (19-1-1, 13 KOs) takes on former Cuban amateur champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (18-1, 11 KOs) in a cruiserweight battle Saturday night at Jako-Arena in Bamberg, Bayern, Germany.

“I’m here to win,” Williams said. “I have to do what I do best and nothing else matters. Fighting him here doesn’t matter because once the bell rings, everything goes out the window. I know he’s highly rated but I take every fight the same. Sparring with Chad Dawson at home in Las Vegas really helped me because Hernandez is a tall southpaw like Chad.

Hernandez’ lone loss as a pro was to former world champion Wayne Braithwaite by 12-round technical knockout a year ago. Presently riding a 4-fight win streak, Yoan Pablo is rated in the top 15 of all four major boxing organizations – WBC #9, WBA #12, WBO #13 and IBF #14.

Spina-Taylor Headlines May 22 “Rage At The River”

Light heavyweight Joey “KO Kid” Spina (24-1-1, 17 KOs) headlines the May 22nd “Rage At The River” card in an 8-round fight against veteran Tiwon Taylor (26-14-1, 19 KOs). Providence’s power-punching Spina is rated No. 12 in the WBA, as well as No. 13 by the WBC and WBO.

Middleweight James McGirt, Jr. 19-2-1, 9 KOs) makes his CES debut in the 6-round co- feature against an opponent to be determined. McGirt is trained by his father, former 2-time world champion and Trainer of the Year, James “Buddy” McGirt.

Also on the card in 6-round bouts are EBA super middleweight champion “Irish” Joe McCreedy (10-2-1, 5 KOs) against Victor Paz (9-7-1, 1 KO), lightweight Sean Eklund (6-3, 1 KO) – trained by his uncle, “Irish” Micky Ward – vs. Jose Guzman (3-4-1), and world featherweight title challenger Sandy “Lil’ Tyson” Tsagouris (9-1, 4 KOs) versus TBA.

Supporting the show in 4-round matches are cruiserweight Jay Holland (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Chris Doykins, light welterweight Diego Periera (2-0, 2 KOs) vs. Pablo Tejada (2-9-1, 0 KOs) and Omar Pena (1-0-1, 0 KOs), managed by former EBU lightweight champ Gary “Tiger” Balletto, vs. Omar Brito (1-1, 1 KO). All fights and fighters are subject to change.

The Legends Meet & Greet

James “Buddy” McGirt (73-6-1, 48 KOs), former IBF light welterweight and WBC welterweight champion, past Boxing Writers of America Association’s Trainer of the Year, as well as “Irish” Micky Ward (38-13,27 KOs), EBU light weight champion and 3-time participant in Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year, will be joined by Gary “Tiger” Balletto (31-3-2, 26 KOs), former IBU lightweight champion and star of The Contender III, for a very special meet-and-greet May 22nd with “Rage At The River” show ticket holders. They will be available in the entrance area of the Twin River Event Center between 6-7 PM/ET to sign autographs, pose for pictures and talk to fans. They had a combined 142-22-3 (101 KOs) pro record.

Tickets for “Rage At the River” are priced at limited $25.00 SRO, $35.00, $45.00 (Bronze), $65.00 (Silver), $100.00 (Gold - includes a free $15.00 play that night at Twin River) and limited $150.00 (Jimmy’s Platinum Club - includes a free $25.00 play that night at Twin River) and are available to purchase by calling CES (401.724.2253/2254), going on line at or, at Twin River’s Players Club booth, or any TicketMaster location.

Contact CES (401.724.2253/2254/ or Twin River Event Center (877.82.RIVER/ for more information. Doors open at 6::00 PM/ET, first bout at 7:00 PM/ET.

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

Upshaw & Byrant newest members of CES stable

CES has signed deal to co-promote middleweight Marcus Upshaw (9-3-1, 3 KOs), of Jacksonville (FL), with Team Savior Boxing. Upshaw, whose most notable fight was a 6-round draw with McGirt, fights undefeated Ashandi Gibbs (4 KOs) this evening for the Florida State title in an 8-round bout. Upshaw’s uncle was the late NFL Hall of Famer Gene Upshaw.

Burchfield also announced the signing of Philadelphia heavyweight Derek “The One Man Riot” Bryant (20-5-1, 17 KOs)

CES’ “Holiday Havoc” Show on Comcast SportsNet New England

CES’ "Holiday Havoc" show from Nov. 29, 2008 at the Twin River Event Center makes its television debut Saturday (May 9) at 8 PM/ET on Comcast SportsNet New England.

2004 US Olympian Jason "Big Six" Estrada battled heavyweight Derek Bryant in the main event. 2008 US Olympian Demetrius "Boo Boo" Andrade fought in front of his hometown fans for the first time in a 4-round light middleweight bout against Eric Marriott

The undercard also featured an exciting fight between McCreedy and former Texas champion James Johnson, along with New Bedford police officer Jason "Schoolboy" Pires' long-awaited return to the ring following a five-year layoff against tough veteran Frank Houghtaling.

Go to for more information about Classic Entertainment and Sports, its fight schedule, future Comcast SportsNet New England airings, and all of its fighters.

Article posted on 08.05.2009

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