News: Green vs Kessler; Ramos vs Romero; Rich Gingras

Allan Green has arrived in Denmark. One week before his WBC Light Heavyweight World Championship (Silver) showdown with Mikkel Kessler (44-2, 33 KOs) at PARKEN Stadium, the 32-year-old American (31-3, 21 KOs) and his coach Anthony Wilson landed at Copenhagen airport. “I am here to beat Mikkel Kessler and take the belt home,” Green said when meeting crews and photographers upon his arrival. “I plan to put a lot of hurt on him. I have seen almost all of his fights, there is nothing he can do to surprise me. I know what to expect..

Green is very satisfied with his preparation in America: “I have been training hard and everything has been coming together nicely. I have the energy and the power to put him into a lot of trouble. What that means, Kessler will find out the hard way on May 19. He will go down.”

First of many boxing events to hit the San Fernando Valley's Sportsmen's Lodge with Tutor's "Live at the Lodge 1"

Boxing in the San Fernando Valley is about to be rekindled at the legendary Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, Calif. The Lodge hosted its first boxing event in 1970. The last events held there in the 90's were promoted by Dan Goossen. Now, 14 years since the Sportsmen's Lodge last hosted boxing, the San Fernando valley's Goossen Tutor Promotions will again look to create a series of boxing events held every two months throughout the year. The inaugural world-class event will be held on Saturday evening, June 23, when former WBA Super Bantamweight World Champion Rico Ramos laces up the gloves against the undefeated 2008 Colombian Olympian Jhonatan Romero.

Boxing fans in attendance will also see the return of lightweight stud John Molina Jr., and a battle between two undefeated young super flyweight stars in Matthew Villanueva of Burbank, Calif. against Austreberto Juarez of Ventura, Calif. The event will be broadcast on TeleFutura's hit series "Solo Boxeo Tecate."

Tickets priced at $103.50 VIP, $52.50 Ringside & $32.50 will go on sale this Wednesday, May 16 at or by calling the Goossen Tutor office at (818) 817-8001. Tickets will also be available the day of the event at the Lodge.

Not since the days of the Reseda Country Club in the early 80's through the mid-90's has a reoccurring boxing show called the San Fernando Valley its home. Dan Goossen promoted hundreds of shows during that period where top of the line celebrities like Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman, James Caan, Cheech Marin, Tony Danza, Michael Landon, Billy Dee Williams, Michael J. Fox,Heather Locklear, Howie Long and Mr. T among many others could be seen sitting ringside for the fight action, which featured many of the initial bouts of World Champions and Valley residents Michael Nunn and the Ruelas Brothers, Gabriel and Rafael. Others, including Tex Cobb, and world champions Terry Norris, Wayne McCullough had the fans wanting more. Now Goossen is going "Back to the Future" with another hot San Fernando Valley location in the Lodge.

The Sportsmen's Lodge first opened its doors in the 1880's and is a Southern California landmark that was once a popular gathering spot for the who's who of old Hollywood including Clark Gable, Bette Davis, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Operating under various names in the first half of the 20th Century, the lodge was known for its trout-fishing lake where families came to catch and eat their own dinners, cooked courtesy of the lodge's restaurant.

"We are so excited to have world class boxing back here at The Sportsmen's Lodge," exclaimed Michelle Bucks, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Sportsmens Lodge. "Goossen Tutor Promotions was a major part of the Events Center throughout the 70's, 80's, & 90's, and we are looking forward to the next 30 Years Together!"

Also happy about the events to come is the Sportsmen's Lodge General Manager, Laurence Whiting, stating "We at the Sportsmen's Lodge Event Center are thrilled to resume a long-standing tradition of high quality boxing in partnership with Goossen Tutor Promotions. It's a world-class event, perfectly positioned at our historic venue. We look forward to great success, and marvelous entertainment for our guests, both for this inaugural show, and hopefully for years to come."

Having recently completed a 10-month renovation of its Events Center, which now boasts room for 1,000 boxing fans, Goossen is looking to reestablish home-grown World Champions fighting locally within a celebrity setting with the first event featuring a main and semi-main bout with a combined record of the fighters of 57 wins, 2 losses, and 1 draw, with 32 knockouts.

Rico Ramos (20-1, 11 KOs) reached his dream of becoming a World Champion when he stopped defending World Champion Akifumi Shimoda (23-2-1, 10 KOs) in Atlantic City on July 9, 2011 and televised on HBO.

In his first defense of the title, Ramos was dealt no easy task as he faced two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist in Guillermo Rigondeaux (9-0, 7 KOs) on January 20, 2012. The fight, held at the Pearl inside Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas and televised on SHOWTIME, e­nded when Rigondeaux stopped Ramos in the seventh round.

"I need to redeem myself for the poor showing I had against Rigondeaux, and the only way to do that is fight," said Ramos. "I'm facing another undefeated Olympian with a strong amateur background in a fight that can get me back into the world championship picture with an impressive victory."

Making his first steps on the road to recovering his championship, Ramos will need to beat the tough 25-year-old Romero (20-0, 12 KOs). The undefeated Colombian improved his record to 20 wins this past December by scoring a unanimous decision over the very respected Chris Avalos (19-2, 15 KOs).

Romero can't wait for the chance of getting the former world champion in the ring. "Beat the champ and suddenly the boxing world knows who you are," stated Romero, "and I intend to beat Ramos."

In the co-main event, Burbank's Matthew Villanueva (7-0-1, 7 KOs) will look to remain unbeaten against Austreberto Juarez (10-1, 2 KOs), who is eager to prove that the single blemish on his record was a fluke.

Villanueva last appeared on SHOWTIME the same night Ramos took on Rigondeaux. He unleashed a relentless assault against Michael Ruiz Jr. (8-2-1, 3 KOs) in that bout, forcing referee Russell Mora to stop the bout in the seventh round.

Upon hearing the news of his fight at the Sportsmen's Lodge Villanueva was ecstatic, "I can't wait to be fighting literally blocks away from my home in front of family, friends and what is sure to be a sell-out crowd. I want to build a local following and intend doing that with knockout action."

In Juarez's last bout he sustained the only loss of his career in a decision to Miguel Diaz (8-0, 3 KOs) in an eight-round fight on March 10, 2012.

"Despite a tough decision in my last outing, I know that I am capable of fighting at an elite level, and I am eager to show the world that I am a strong and exciting competitor in this division."

Widely considered one of the hottest young lightweight prospects in boxing, John Molina Jr., who is a native of Covina, California, has posted 19 vicious knockouts among his first 23 wins, while only sustaining one loss in his career entering the ring that night with the flu.

Molina's most recent ring appearance came in June of last year, when he took on Robert Frankel (28-11-1, 5 KOs) at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Cabazon, Calif. Molina was too quick and powerful for the tested veteran fighter, and Raul Caiz Jr. would stop the bout at the conclusion of round 5.

Having had his eye on lightweight kingpin Brandon Rios, as well as the divisions title holders for some time now, Molina looks to establish himself as a contender for top dog in the division by securing a win at the Sportsmen's Lodge in dominant fashion.

"I've been in the gym this whole time and I'm looking forward to showcasing my ability and showing the world that I am ready to take on and beat the upper echelon of fighters at 135."

As for the Sportsmen's Lodge, you can imagine they've had their share of some names from the past that have fought there, including Peter McNeely, who after beating Larry Menefee at the Lodge in a bout Goossen promoted, would go on to break Pay-Per-View records in his next immediate fight against Mike Tyson at the MGM in Las Vegas. From the other side of the pond, one of England's current top trainers, Robert McCracken, defended his undefeated record through 30 fights at the Sportsmen's Lodge on February 27, 1998.

McCracken, who was once promoted by Goossen, also holds the distinction of being the trainer of Carl Froch, who this past December was thoroughly dominated by Andre Ward on his way to winning the SHOWTIME Super Six World Boxing Classic Tournament.

Gingras survives against all odds

Two weeks from now, 31-year-old cruiserweight Rich Gingras will step inside the ring for just the second time in three years, continuing his improbable comeback while balancing fatherhood and running a business.

Long odds, no doubt, but nothing too strenuous for Gingras, who’s overcome far more difficult obstacles on his unconventional path to stardom, a tumultuous past he’s learned to embrace rather than try to run from.

“Everything I’ve been through,” he says, “has made me into who I am today.”

A former contestant on “The Contender” reality television series, Gingras (11-2, 7 KOs) will face Terrance Smith (7-13-2, 4 KOs) in the six-round special attraction of Jimmy Burchfield’s “Up For Grabs” professional boxing event Thursday, May 24th, 2012 at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, R.I.

He’s engaged now, with the wedding scheduled for November, and he has more than 230 clients as the owner of Fight 2 Fitness, a world-class group fitness and boxing studio in downtown Pawtucket. He’s also under the promotional guidance of Burchfield, who is working to bring his career to new heights, and his third child, Wesley, will celebrate his first birthday in June.

Life is good, but there are still harsh realities Gingras can’t shake, the realities of growing up in a lower-class family with no positive role models to teach him the difference between right and wrong – a lesson Gingras often learned the hard way, either unintentionally or through his own wrongdoing.

Born in Concord, Mass., Gingras had few friends growing up while his family moved from city to city in New England, including stops in Newton, Waltham and Billerica before leaving Massachusetts and settling in New Hampshire prior to Gingras’ teenage years.

“I just didn’t really care about investing time in anyone because I knew I wouldn’t be around long enough,” Gingras said.

At the age of 9, shortly after his parents divorced, Gingras learned his father, Wilford, had contracted HIV through a heroine needle. The reality didn’t set in until Gingras began reading about the severity of the disease in school.

“He disappeared for a year and a half,” Gingras recalled. “He got real depressed and tried to kill himself.”

Around the same time, Gingras also became the victim of sexual abuse by a male employee at the Boys & Girls Club in Watertown, which remained a secret for nearly three years until one his teachers discovered it while thumbing through Gingras’ journal.

“He told me if anyone found out, something bad would happen to my family,” Gingras said. “I was scared.”

The abuse, both physically and mentally, took its toll on Gingras. Within four years of contracting HIV, his father passed away, and Gingras began drifting further off course in school and at home. He frequently got into fights – “I never started them, but I won them all,” he boasts – and his grades slipped. When his eighth-grade teacher told him he couldn’t play football if his grades didn’t improve, Gingras decided he was done with school.

“That’s the only reason I was going to school to begin with,” he said. “I’d rather go out and smoke some weed, mess around a little, and act like an adult.”

Shortly thereafter, Gingras came face-to-face with real, adult responsibilities when he conceived his first child at the age of 16. Richard Gingras Jr. was born with Arthrogryposis, a rare congenital disorder characterized by multiple joint contractures.

“He had club feet, and he couldn’t bend his elbows,” Gingras said. “His toes touched the bottom of his feet. That’s how badly his feet were curled up.

“The funny thing is when my girlfriend was pregnant, I kept telling my friends, ‘This kid is going to be a bad-ass!’ so it’s ironic that when he came out he wasn’t able to bend his elbows.”

By then, Gingras’ mother had remarried, and Gingras had moved out on his own, staying at random friends’ houses – “couch-hopping,” as he called it.

“My parents had rules, and I didn’t want to follow them,” he said. “I was 16 going on 30. I wanted to have fun. I didn’t want to come home at nine o’clock. I was into making babies and getting high.”

The youngest of four children – three boys, and one girl – Gingras didn’t receive much guidance from his siblings. His oldest brother, Christopher, now 40, served as a father figure, but often encouraged Gingras to solve problems with his fists.

“One day at the park, some kid took my swing set and he said, ‘Rich, don’t take that [stuff]. Kick his ass!’” Gingras said. “I didn’t want to. I started crying and he made me go over there and beat the kid up. I was always gentle, but I could fight.”

The pressure of fatherhood at a young age ultimately got the best of Gingras, who left the mother of his child shortly after the pregnancy and began hitting the streets while his son spent the better part of his infancy in therapy.

Trouble soon followed – more drinking, more fights, and, shortly thereafter, a 30-day jail sentence at the age of 17 for possession of a narcotic (marijuana).

Would that be the turning point in Gingras’ life?

“Hell no,” he said. “I got into fights in jail, too. They were feeding me constantly. I fattened right up. It was like a vacation. I wasn’t too worried about it.

“Nothing really scared me at that moment.”

Shorty after his release, Gingras met another girl, conceived another child at the age of 19, and then fled to Albany, N.Y., for a year to dodge the police – they had a warrant out for his arrest on a separate assault charge – while the soon-to-be mother attended school.

The law eventually caught up with Gingras again during a brief visit back home in New Hampshire. One night, Gingras got so high he started a fistfight and then broke into the victim’s home, inadvertently cutting his arm and leaving a blood stain on the wall. A year later, the police matched the DNA and nabbed Gingras for burglary, resulting in a one-year sentence.

The second stint behind bars helped Gingras reunite with his son, who visited frequently, but Gingras continued to move in the wrong direction even while on parole.

“I was starting to play a role in his life, but I was still living a crappy lifestyle,” he said. “I was on parole for five years, yet I’d serve a month here, two months there – all in all, I spent two and a half years of my life in jail.

“One day I’m in there and I was like, ‘What the hell am I doing? I’ve got to cut this out.’”

At the age of 21, Gingras finally began turning his life around. He gained full custody of his son while his daughter, Jada, continued to live with her mother in Albany. Struggling with what he referred to as the “transition from being a bad-ass to a good person,” Gingras found new ways to pass the time; one night, he attended a local amateur boxing show in New Hampshire.

“I thought to myself, ‘I could do this! I could beat the crap out of every one of these guys,’” he said.

He decided to start training at a gym in Claremont, a community center where boxing was so foreign they hung heavy bags on a set of chains from the basketball rims.

“They didn’t even have a ring,” Gingras said.

That following day, he smoked his last cigarette, flicked it on the ground and stepped foot inside the gym, where he met his first boxing coach, Ed Farris, now the manager of undefeated middleweight prospect Demetrius Andrade.

Farris guided Gingras through an improbable, yet wildly successful, amateur career in which Gingras won the Vermont Golden Gloves Tournament as a heavyweight, captured two Rocky Marciano Tournament titles and advanced to the Ringside World National Championships in Kansas City.

“Boxing is such a small community, but no one knew who the hell I was at the time,” Gingras said. “Everyone was overlooking me. I didn’t even have a uniform. I walked in there with Nike shorts and a white tank top, but I blasted everyone out.

“No one could get past the second round with me.”

Once the word got out, Gingras had a hard time finding opponents willing to face him in the amateurs, so he made his professional debut in 2006 at the age of 25. Having outgrown the outdated facilities in New Hampshire, he began working with trainer Peter Manfredo Sr. in Pawtucket, driving six hours each day, five days per week, sometimes even sleeping in the parking lot between trips.

At 9-0 with five knockouts, Gingras embarked on the opportunity of a lifetime when “The Contender” recruited him to compete in its cruiserweight tournament in Singapore in 2008. Though he lost his first and only fight on the show to then-unbeaten prospect Deon Elam, a fight in which Gingras knocked his opponent to the canvas, Gingras won the fan vote based on his popularity and was invited to the series’ finale the following year at Foxwoods Resort Casino. He lost that fight, too, a unanimous decision against undefeated Ryan Coyne.

“It gave me a lot of experience,” Gingras said. “It put me in an uncomfortable situation being the smallest guy with the least amount of experience. It was like [reality television series] ‘The Real World,’ except we were fighting. No cameras, no TVs – it was a surreal, stressful situation.”

With two losses under his belt, Gingras’ career plateaued.

“The money sucked, and people wanted me to fight out of town,” he said. “I needed to take a step back. I was 28 now. I asked myself, ‘What’s my backup plan?’

He found the answer working at LA Boxing in North Attleboro, Mass., where he became the head trainer within two years and met his current fiancé, Alyssa.

“The wheels in my head began spinning,” he said. “I thought, ‘I should make a living out of this!’”

By the time LA Boxing closed its doors for good in 2011, Gingras celebrated the grand opening of Fight 2 Fitness. Several days later, his fiancé gave birth to their first child – Gingras’ third. The gym broke even within three months and began turning a profit shortly thereafter, an “unbelievable” turn of events, according to Gingras, given the current state of the economy.

“Most people think I have this college education because I own my own business,” he said, “but the last grade I completed was eighth grade. I was in special education classes my whole life. I’m pretty much self-made.”

Through it all, he never lost his desire to fight.

“I told Alyssa as soon as the gym can sustain itself I’m getting back in the ring,” he said. “She supported me all the way. I didn’t stop fighting because I wanted to; I felt I needed something to fall back on. Boxing is a difficult sport to raise a family in. Someday, you won’t be able to do it. Then what? You can’t retire at 35. I needed something to keep me moving.”

As promised, Gingras returned to the ring in March, knocking out Adam Harris in the second round of a scheduled six-round fight. He’ll make his CES debut on the 24th at 180 pounds and eventually drop to light heavyweight (175 pounds).

“That’s where I belong,” he said. “I’m 5-foot-10. The guys I’m fighting at 180 are at least six-feet tall. I’m strong at cruiserweight, but why not have a level playing field?”

At 31, the odds may be stacked against Gingras, but it’s hard to doubt anyone who’s already been through so much and overcome so many obstacles. Gingras’ journey is the ultimate rags-to-riches story, the epitome of what we embrace as the American Dream. Given his recent success, it’s quite possible the most compelling chapter of his life has yet to be written.

“Things are going well,” he said. “I work about 70 hours a week, so it’s crazy getting back into the fight game. All my free time is going into training.

“They say you hit your prime around 30. Some days I wake up and say to myself, ‘How the hell am I going to do this today?’ I drive to New Hampshire every weekend to pick up my daughter – 12 hours a week just driving – but I told my fiancé I need to do this before I get old, or else I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.

“Now I’m back in my game. I’m excited about working with Jimmy. He treats his fighters well and has the tools to push my career forward. I’m super happy right now.”

The eight-round main event of “Up For Grabs” features Vladine Biosse (12-1-1, 6 KOs), dubbed “Mr. Providence” due to his strong following in Rhode Island’s capital city, defending his New England Super Middleweight Title against Providence’s Joey “K.O. Kid” Spina (26-2-2, 18 KOs). Unbeaten Burlington, Vt., super middleweight Kevin Cobbs (3-0, 1 KO) will face veteran Borngod Washington (3-10, 1 KO) of Queens, N.Y., in a four-round bout while female bantamweight Shelito Vincent (2-0) of Providence will battle newcomer Carmen Cruz of Fort Myers, Fla., in a four-round bout.

CES will also introduce another one of its most recent signings on May 24th when undefeated Medford, Oreg., heavyweight “Irish” Mike Wilson (5-0, 3 KOs) returns to the ring for the first time in 18 months in a four-round bout.

Super lightweight Zack Ramsey, a former national amateur champion from Springfield, Mass., will make his long-awaited debut against Providence’s Alan Beeman (0-1) while middleweight Thomas Falowo (6-0, 4 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I., light heavyweight Alex Amparo (3-0, 2 KOs) of Providence, welterweight Diego Pereira (6-0-1, 2 KOs) and Woonsocket, R.I., middleweight Joe Gardner (8-4, 1 KO) will return to the ring in separate six-round bouts, with the exception of Gardner, who’ll fight in a four-rounder.

Tickets for “Up For Grabs” 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.

Article posted on 12.05.2012

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