News: Pires vs Soto; Joe Smith Jr.; Gary Cornish

Thursday nights in Rhode Island just got a lot more exciting. After successfully bringing professional boxing back to the Ocean State in 2011 following an 11-month drought, Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports is proud to announce the launch of its 2012 Thursday Night Fight Series, which begins Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., with “Home Invasion,” the first of four events this year..

“Home Invasion” features the long-awaited return of New Bedford, Mass., welterweight Jason “School Boy” Pires (22-4-1, 9 KOs), an active member of the New Bedford police force SWAT Team, along with Providence, R.I., super middleweight Vladine Biosse (11-1-1, 6 KOs), who’s in search of his first win since April.

Pires will face fan-favorite Eddie Soto (12-3, 4 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I., in the six-round main event while Biosse will take on hard-hitting veteran George Armenta (14-7, 11 KOs) of Silver Spring, Md., in the six-round special attraction.

The series begins March 22nd and continues May 24th, July 19th, and Oct. 18th, and at the end of the year, the media will select – among other awards – the series’ Most Outstanding Fighter, Knockout of the Year, and Most Outstanding Prospect.

“No matter where our travels take us, Rhode Island will always remain our home, so it’s an honor to bring the finest up-and-coming talent in professional boxing back to the beautiful Twin River Event Center for this unique fight series,” Burchfield said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for both our fighters and our loyal fans.”

“I’ve been in the gaming industry for 33 years and I’ve never experienced a more professional boxing program than what Classic Entertainment & Sports produces regularly at Twin River,” added Phil Juliano, Vice President of Marketing at Twin River. “This new attempt at programming on Thursday nights should excite all of us as we get the chance to start the weekend early with a spectacular event presented by a first-class promoter in a first-class facility.”

Pires, 37, is looking to make one last run at championship glory as he begins his second comeback. In 2008, “School Boy” returned to the ring for the first time in five years with a unanimous-decision win over Frank Houghtaling at Twin River. Less than two years later, he challenged Michael Clark for the vacant North American Boxing Association (NABA) USA light welterweight title; Clark cruised to a unanimous-decision win, ending Pires’ first comeback attempt. The March 22nd bout against Soto will be his first in 22 months.

“It feels great to be back!” Pires said. “The rest has definitely worked wonders. My body has had more time to heal. I’m definitely motivated for this fight. This is a good comeback fight for me, and I’m looking forward to bringing all of my fans back to Rhode Island.”

Coming off a loss and a draw in his last two fights, Biosse will also lean on the support of his fans when he returns to the ring for the first time since October to face Armenta. In his last bout, Biosse pulled his left pectoral muscle in the opening round, which affected his performance in a majority draw against John Mackey.

“I’m really excited about the fact we’re coming back home,” Biosse said. “I like fighting in front of my hometown fans in my home state. Fighting here gives a lot of people who can’t get out to where we’re fighting a chance to come out and support us.

“The last time I fought, it didn’t go as I had planned, but I was thankful for the people that came out. We had a great turnout. It’s good to see that we still have boxing fans in Rhode Island who will come out and show their support.”

“Home Invasion” features seven dynamic undercard bouts, including the return of New Bedford welterweight Johnathan Vazquez (4-1-1, 3 KOs), who’s looking to bounce back from a knockout loss to Bryan Abraham in October, the first of his career. Vazquez will face New Jersey’s Rashard Bogar (3-3-1, 2 KOs) in a four-round bout.

Fan-favorites Alex Amparo (2-0, 1 KO) of Providence and Benny Costantino (7-0, 4 KOs) of West Warwick, R.I., will also return to Twin River following victories in October. Amparo, a middleweight, will face newcomer John Downey in a four-round bout while Costantino, 40, will continue his comeback in a four-round super middleweight bout against Yolexcy Leiva (4-2, 3 KOs) of Nashville, Tenn.; Costantino’s victory over Odias Dumezil in October was his first fight in 10 years.

Unbeaten middleweight prospect Thomas Falowo (5-0, 4 KOs) of Pawtucket will put his perfect record on the line against Ronald Reaves (2-2, 1 KO) of Atlanta, while light welterweight Carlos Hernandez (1-2) of Bridgeport, Conn., will face Robert Brando-Hunt (0-1) of Hyannis, Mass., who is searching for his first professional win. Female welterweight Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (5-1, 1 KO) of Quincy, Mass., ranked No. 13 in the World Boxing Council (WBC), will battle 9th-ranked Fayetteville, N.C., veteran Rachel Clark (6-6-1, 3 KOs) in a four-round bout, and super middleweight Kevin Cobbs (2-0, 1 KO) of Burlington, Vt., will also be on the undercard in a four-round bout.

Tickets for “Home Invasion” are $35.00, $50.00, $75.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at or, at the Players Club booth at Twin River, or through any TicketMaster location. Doors open 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.

Nearly two months after breaking his jaw, Smith Jr. is ready to continue climb

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Feb. 28, 2012) – Light heavyweight prospect Joe Smith Jr. knew something was wrong during his bout against hard-hitting Eddie Caminero in August of 2010. He just had no idea how serious it was.

“The pain just started to take over,” recalled the 22-year-old Long Island native. “I couldn’t close my mouth. I couldn’t even bite down on my mouthpiece.”

By the time Caminero finished Smith (7-1, 7 KOs) for good via technical knockout with two seconds remaining in the fourth round – the first and only loss of Smith’s career – Smith had suffered a broken jaw on both sides of his mouth, an injury that left him with his jaw wired shut for six weeks.

“They had to put in plates and screws on both sides,” he said. “It completely snapped in half.”

Determined to finish the fight, Smith battled for another round after breaking his jaw in the third, but the increasing pain was too much to overcome. Following the loss, Smith spent the next 11 months recovering before returning triumphantly in July with a win over Santos Martinez in Brooklyn.

With the rust finally gone, Smith is ready to step back into the ring Friday, March 30th, 2012 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino’s MGM Grand Theater on the undercard of Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “All In” professional boxing event, which will air live as part of ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” telecast.

Smith shook off the cobwebs in his second-round knockout win over Martinez, but talk of the injury still hits close to home. Some doubted whether he’d ever return to the ring, but Smith always believed, as evident by the fact he was back in the gym only three weeks after having his jaw wired shut.

“I wasn’t allowed to do too much because I couldn’t put strain on my body. The doctors didn’t want the wires to break,” Smith said, “but I didn’t want to quit. Once it healed up, I was back in there working as quickly as possible.”

Unable to eat solid foods for almost two months, Smith lost close to 30 pounds, dropping from his typical fight weight of 175 to 180 pounds to as low as 150 by the time his jaw was unwired.

“Luckily, it came back to me quickly,” he said. “I had to eat through a straw for six weeks, but as soon as I could eat real food again, I was so stoked to get back in the gym. I love working out. I’ve been doing it for a long time.”

Smith’s doctors gave him a nine-month window to train and rehabilitate before he would be cleared to fight again. Upon his return in July, he remained determined to finish his opponent as quickly as possible, but wanted to absorb some punishment, too, just to see how his surgically repaired jaw would react.

“To be honest, I wanted to know my jaw was good and that this wouldn’t happen again,” he said. “I wanted to test it a little bit.

“In the first round, I was little rusty, but I did what I had to do in the second round and got him out of there. That’s the plan. That’s always the plan.”

Smith now has seven wins, all by knockout, and will aim for his second consecutive victory March 30th at Foxwoods. The setback suffered two years ago has done little to dissuade him from his ultimate goal of winning a world title. A broken jaw couldn’t derail him, so it’s hard to imagine any other roadblock standing in his way.

“If anything, this has motivated me even more,” Smith said. “It makes me want to train harder so it won’t happen again. I can’t wait for March. I’ve been in the gym training hard everyday. I’m in great shape. I’m ready to go.”

Tickets for “All In” are $40.00, $65.00, and $125.00 (VIP ringside) and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, or the Foxwoods box office at 800.200.2882, online at or Doors open 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.

“All In” stars Philadelphia native “Hammerin’” Hank Lundy (21-1-1, 11 KOs) – ranked No. 4 in the World Boxing Council (WBC) – defending his North American Boxing Federation (NABF) lightweight title against No. 11-ranked “Dangerous” Dannie Williams (21-1, 17 KOs) in the 10-round main event. New Haven, Conn., native Elvin Ayala (24-5-1, 11 KOs), ranked No. 16 in the WBC, will defend his WBC U.S. National Boxing Council (USNBC) middleweight title against Hector Camacho Jr. (53-4-1, 28 KOs), the son of former four-time world champion Hector “Macho” Camacho Sr., in the 10-round co-feature.

The undercard features Philadelphia’s Frankie Trader (8-0, 2 KOs) facing Adrian Perez (7-4-1, 1 KO) of Sarasota, Fla., in a six-round super featherweight bout; and Shelton, Conn., super middleweight Nick Lavin (2-2, 2 KOs) battling Steven Chadwick (0-3) of Jacksonville, Fla. New London, Conn., featherweight Shelito Vincent (1-0) will face Karen Dulin (2-10, 1 KO) of Mystic, Conn., in a four-round rematch; and Josh Crespo (0-1-1) of New Haven will take on Alfredo Garcia (2-0) of Sarasota in a four-round super bantamweight bout. New Haven welterweight Christian Lao (3-1, 1 KO) and Providence, R.I., cruiserweight Donte Wiggins (1-0, 1 KO) will also be featured in separate four-round bouts.


Heavyweight hope Gary ‘The Highlander’ Cornish is set to top the bill for the first time as big-time boxing returns to Inverness on Friday, May 11.

The unbeaten Inverness man will head up a bill that features fellow local heroes Andrew Young and Alastair Chisholm at the Drumossie Hotel.

Six foot seven inch heavyweight hope Cornish has already racked up six victories (two by knockout) since turning professional earlier this year and impressed fans and pundits alike when beating Lithuanian Igoris Borucha in Aberdeen on Saturday.

May’s contest will be his second fight in his hometown, following the success of the first-ever professional boxing event in the Highlands in December when he defeated Zimbabwe’s former Commonwealth title challenger Hastings Rasani.

Promoter Chris Gilmour said: “The fans turned out in force back in December and proved there’s a real appetite for professional boxing in Inverness.

“I’m very excited about the show and I’m sure boxing fans will be too because I believe we will see three fine prospects in action.

“Gary is really looking forward to topping the bill, particularly as it’s in front of a hometown audience who gave him such fantastic support when he last fought in Inverness.

“He has really grabbed everyone’s attention – and not just because he’s six foot seven inches tall! He’s at the very early stages of his professional career, but he has already impressed everyone who has seen him in action, both in the flesh and on his two appearances so far on Sky TV.

“It’s important not to get too carried away, but he’s progressing very well and looks to have all the tools to finally end Scotland’s long wait for a champion in the heavyweight division.”

Former Commonwealth games bronze medallist Young returned to the ring for the first time in two years on the previous Inverness bill to stop Lithuanian Rimantus Siniunas. He followed that up with an impressive fourth round knockout of another Lithuanian, Ruslan Bitarov, in Aberdeen on Saturday to record a fourth stoppage win in a row since losing on his debut.

Welterweight Chisholm will be aiming to keep his 100% record in his third contest, having outpointed Larkhall’s Mark Betts on the December bill.

Gilmour added: “Andrew was one of the world’s top amateurs, but he has suffered with injury since he turned pro and didn’t have as many fights as he would have hoped for, but he’s now

back in top condition after two straight stoppage wins since December and is starting to look like his old self again.

“Alastair has been very impressive against vastly more experienced opponents in his two fights and is now looking to build on that momentum in front of a hometown audience again.
“Scottish boxing is in its healthiest state for years and the Highlands is a real hotbed for stars of the future, so it will be good for these up and comers to showcase themselves on their own doorsteps.”

Tickets are priced at £1000 for a table of ten or £100 per person and include a champagne reception and three-course dinner. Contact Laura on 07769 697899 / for further information.

Article posted on 29.02.2012

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