News: Jason Estrada; Andrzej Fonfara; Delen Parsley

Popular cruiserweight Rich Gingras, one of the stars of The Contender, Season IV reality television show, returns to the ring March 9 after a 2 ½-year layoff in a six-round bout on the Who's Next? card at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence. Who's Next? - presented by Big Six Entertainment - is headlined by an eight-round heavyweight fight between 2004 U.S. Olympian Jason "Big Six" Estrada (17-4, 4 KOs), fighting out of Providence, and veteran "Diamond" Dominique Alexander (22-13-1, 10 KOs). .

Gingras (10-2, 6 KOs), who was an amateur standout in New Hampshire, faces Worcester (MA) veteran Adam Harris (10-4, 7 KOs) in a six-rounder. Gingras' boxing career has come full circle. He didn't start boxing until he was 23, captured the 2006 Ringside World Championship, and was a two-time New England Golden Gloves and Rocky Marciano Tournament winner.

Rich turned pro in December of 2006 and two years later, he participated in The Contender, Season IV in Singapore, losing a hotly-contested five-round decision to undefeated Deon Elam (9-0).

"I've never really been a cruiserweight," Gingras explained. "I'm really a big light heavyweight. I'm known for having a big punch and good chin, so when I got a call from The Contenders, I knew it was risky but also an opportunity. I decided to go for it. I spent 1 ½ months in Singapore and lost a close decision in my fight. But I was a fan favorite. The Contender is a doubled-edged sword. It can boost careers but I wasn't a main event fighter. I decided to back-off and let the dust settle.

"I had moved to Attleboro (MA) a while back because I was training in Pawtucket with Peter Manfredo, Sr. I had to because I needed good sparring and there wasn't a lot in New Hampshire. The commute was killing me, though. I became a personal trainer at LA Boxing and it was natural. Eight months ago, I opened a gym in Pawtucket (RI) - Fight 2 Fitness ( -- and we already have 188 members. I'm getting married in September and we have a new baby. Boxing is in my blood but I decided to wait until things at the gym settled before getting back into the ring."

His business plan didn't take as long as projected to be successful; Gingras' gym broke even in its third month, leading to Gingras' comeback fight Mar. 9. "Now," he said, "I'm fighting for fun like it was in the amateurs. I loved showing up and having somebody point out who I was fighting. Once money was involved, it became a mess. Because of my gym, I don't need boxing as an occupation to support my family. I'm cross-promoting boxing with my business and getting boxing out of my system."

Fight 2 Fitness doesn't have a single boxer as a member; 75-percent of its members are women, and many of the men are professionals - doctors, lawyers, etc. The gym offers boxing, kickboxing and boot camp training for members to use for conditioning purposes, not to become fighters like Gingras.

Two and two years ago, Gingras lost a six-round decision to Ryan Coyne, who is now one of the top-ranked light heavyweights in the world. In his last fight, 2 ½ years ago, Rich won when Robert Davis retired after seven rounds.

The pressure associated with being a former fighter on The Contender doesn't compare, according to Gingras, to fighting Mar. 9 in front of 300 people from his new world of business. "That's real pressure," he admitted. "I'm being trained again by Jimmy Farrell in Quincy (MA). I'm going to be 31 this Sunday but, like Jimmy says, I'm like a car with low mileage. I don't know too much about my opponent. Hey, I'm not a boxer, I'm a fighter. He'd just better like being in with a puncher like me."

In the six-round co-feature, former USBA/NABO middleweight champion Brian "The Bull" Barbosa (30-6, 22 KOs) takes on tough John Johnson (13-2, 10 KOs), while Pawtucket junior welterweight Diego Periera (6-0-1, 2 KOs) puts his unbeaten pro record on the line vs. TBA in a six-round match.

Also fighting on the undercard in four-round match-ups are Providence middleweight Kali Reiss (3-1-1, 2 KOs) vs. pro-debuting Marva Dash, of Bridgeport (CT), Fall River (MA) junior middleweight Dustin Reinhold (4-2, 2 KOs) vs. Springfield's Jose Angel "KO" Ortiz (4-6-1, 1 KOs), Woonsocket (RI) super middleweight Joe Gardner (7-4-1, 1 KO) vs. TBA, and Cape Cod light heavyweight Paul Gonsalves (2-2, 2 KOs), fighting out of Harwich (MA), vs. TBA. All fights and fighters are subject to change.

Tickets, reasonably priced at $35.00, $45.00 and $75.00, are available to purchase by calling 1.401.241.3490 (RI) or 1.617.312.5059 (MA), going on line at www.bigsixentertainment, com or, and at the Rhode Island Convention Center box office.

Doors open at 6 PM/ET with the first bout scheduled for 7 PM/ET


Chicago’s Polish Prince Andrzej Fonfara will kick off his 2012 campaign with the toughest test of his pro boxing career as he faces former two-time world champion Byron “Gator” Mitchell on Friday, March 16th at the UIC Pavilion.

The Fonfara/Mitchell ten round bout, contested for the USBO Light Heavyweight Title, headlines an action packed Windy City Fight Night 22 card presented by Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions, HOME OF THE BEST IN CHICAGO BOXING.

In the co-feature, middleweight prospect and former Olympian Viktor “The White Tiger” Polyakov will risk his undefeated record against hard-hitting Gary, Indiana veteran Derrick “Superman” Findley.

The 24-year-old Fonfara, 20-2-1 (11KO’s), world ranked # 7 by the World Boxing Organization, has become a must-see attraction at the UIC Pavilion drawing a rapidly growing legion of fans to each of his fights. His last seven bouts at the venue have ended in brutal, highlight reel knockouts.

Fighting out of Dothan, Alabama, Mitchell, 29-9-1 (22KO’s), is a former two-time WBA Super Middleweight Champion. The heavy handed veteran has faced numerous world champion and contenders over his fifteen years career including Joe Calzaghe, Sven Ottke, Frankie Liles, Richard Hall, David Telesco and Zsolt Erdei.

Said Pesoli, “Mitchell is a tough test for Andrzej at this point. Andrzej has improved greatly over the last three years but Mitchell is a very experienced veteran who will throw different looks and angles that Andrzej may have not seen yet. I’m anxious to see how Andrzej does and I think it’s going to be a terrific fight.”

A native of Warsaw, Poland now based in Chicago, Fonfara had five starts in 2011, the most recent a crunching third round stoppage of Phil Williams on December 16th at the UIC Pavilion.

Based in Chicago, Polyakov, 10-0-0 (6KO’s), is a native of Perm, Russia and represented the Ukraine in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, advancing to the quarterfinals.

After a three year absence, Polyakov has resumed his career in a highly impressive manner, winning two six round shut out decisions, most recently dominating the also unbeaten Foster Nkodu on December 16th at the UIC Pavilion.

Sporting a record of 18-7-1 (11KO’s), the all-action and fan favorite Findley has travelled across the country facing numerous world ranked contenders and highly regarded prospects as well as being involved in sensational fights in the Chicagoland area.

Among the warriors Findley has entered the ring against over his six-year career are Andre Dirrell, Andre Ward, Fernando Guerrero, Elvin Ayala and Matt Korobov. He also holds two standout victories each in Chicago over local middleweight veterans Miguel Hernandez and Michael Walker.

Findley is coming of a ten round battle against Eric Mitchell on October 7th in Burbank, Illinois. The hotly contested fight appeared to lean in Findley’s favor, but scoring at the end of the bout awarded the bout to Mitchell by split decision.

In a special attraction six round welterweight bout at Windy City Fight Night 22, fast rising Chicago based Puerto Rican prospect Luis ‘Sito” Santiago, 4-0-0 (1KO) will look to remain perfect as he challenges Maryland based veteran Dontre King, 6-9-2 (2KO’s).

Coming off a four round shut out victory over David Laque on December 16th, Santiago has continued to impress fight fans at the UIC Pavilion with his terrific boxing skills. The Humboldt Park resident has won his last three bouts by shut out four round unanimous decisions.

The upset minded King is on a three-bout winning streak as he enters the ring against Santiago.

Also appearing at Windy City Fight Night 22 in separate four round bouts are newcomers; welterweight Daniel Sotelo, 2-0-0 (2KO’s) of Highland Park, Illinois, along with Muskegon, Michigan based featherweight Raeese Aleem, 1-0-0 (1KO) and pro debuters, welterweight Chad McKinney and super flyweight Adan Ortiz.

Rounding out the card is the return of massive heavyweight Curtis Tate, 4-3-0 (4KO’s) of Oakland, Tennessee in a scheduled four rounder. Dropping Alejandro Otero three times on February 24th at the UIC Pavilion, Tate earned the stoppage in the second round

Advance tickets, priced at $31, $51, $76 and $101 are available through Ticketmaster, (, the UIC Pavilion Box Office (Phone 312-413-5740) and the 8 Count Productions Office (312-226-5800).

Doors on the night of the event will open at 7pm with the first bell at 8pm. The UIC Pavilion is located at 525 S. Racine, at the corner of Harrison and Racine, just one block south of the Eisenhower Expressway in the West Loop area of Chicago.

8 Count Productions, HOME OF THE BEST IN CHICAGO BOXING, was started by Dominic Pesoli in 1998 and has consistently presented the highest quality professional boxing events in Chicagoland.

Fighters currently under the 8 Count Productions banner include; super middleweight contender Donovan George, world ranked light heavyweight Andrzej Fonfara, former world title challenger Edner Cherry, middleweight prospect Viktor Polyakov, junior welterweight prospects Ivan Popoca and Adrian Granados along with welterweights Achour Esho and Jaime Herrera.

For more information on 8 Count Productions please visit their new website, Follow them on Twitter at 8_Count and Facebook at “8 Count Productions”.

For further information about the UIC Pavilion please visit their website at The UIC Pavilion is now serving alcohol at all boxing events


On March 7th at BB King Blues Club and Grill in New York City, Delen "Sniper" Parsley (6-0, 2KO's) and Boyd "Rainmaker" Melson (8-0, 4KO's) will both take a step way up in competition and put their undefeated records on the line when they square off in an eight-round junior middleweight showdown on the latest installment of DiBella Entertainment's (DBE) "Broadway Boxing" series.

It is rare when you see two up-and-coming prospects matched against one another at such an early stage in their careers, but that is exactly what you have when the two New Yorkers enter the ring on the March 7.

"This is the hardest fight of my career so far," said Parsley who is promoted by DBE. "I'm in the business of making a name for myself though and with that being said someone's '0' must go. It's that fight-or-flight moment, and I happen to fight real well."

Melson, a graduate from West Point, is not signed to an exclusive promotional contract under the company banner, but he has been a staple on DBE cards since turning pro in late 2010. Like Parsley, Melson realizes what an important fight this is for his own career, but also realizes that each time he steps into that ring, he is fighting for a much bigger cause, the Justadollarplease organization. Along with, Melson created Team Fight to Walk, whose mission is to raise awareness within the boxing community about the importance of stem cell research for spinal cord injuries.

"Every fight and victory that I have earned is just as important as I am learning that my voice resonates throughout that much larger of an audience to help build understanding of the need to help the cause. They are creating awareness of the U.S. Clinical Trial that will help human beings chained to their wheelchairs break free from those chains. I keep that in mind during every training camp for every fight, and I keep that in mind as I walk to the ring for every fight until the moment the bell rings. This next match will be a much greater challenge and, as my training regimen increased in preparation, I found myself leaning even more strongly toward what it is I am fighting for. It's all I ever think about."

The card is promoted is by DiBella Entertainment as part of its "Broadway Boxing" series and will be aired tape-delayed on SNY. In the main event, Alex Perez (15-0, 9KO's) looks to stay undefeated when he also steps way up in class taking on former NABF junior welterweight champion, Francisco "El Gato" Figueroa (20-3-1, 13KO's) in an eight-round welterweight matchup. Doors open at 6:30PM with the first bout scheduled for 7:30PM.

Article posted on 01.03.2012

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