Prodigal son "Tiger" Balletto headlines "Jingle Bell Pop"

PROVIDENCE (November 14, 2006) - Popular knockout artist Gary "Tiger" Balletto returns to action, after his recent stint with The Contender II, as the headliner on the December 1 "Jingle Bell Pop" Pro-Am show at the Rhode Island Convention Center in downtown Providence. Balletto (30-3-2, 25 KOs), former IBU World lightweight champion, hasn't fought outside of The Contender II since Halloween Night in 2003..

"Tiger" holds wins against former world champion Juan Polo Perez, Frank Houghtaling, Mike DeBenedetto, Luis Alfonso Lizarraga, Hector Arroyo, Freddy Cruz and Aaron Torres among the more notables. Balletto's opponent in the 10-round main event will be CBA welterweight champion "Mayhem" Matthew Strode (20-1, 9 KOs), fighting out of Greensboro, North Carolina.

Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc. (CES), in association with Lincoln Park and Graphic Ink, is promoting "Jingle Bell Pop," which will be broadcast in New England on Saturday, December 9 (7-9 PM/ET) and Saturday, Dec. 16 (12-2 PM/ET) on CN8, The Comcast Network. The event also will air on the Cox Network on dates and times to be announced.

"Jingle Bell Pop" will be held in honor of Rhode Island's 91-year old Ralph "The Ripper" Zanelli (92-48-7, 31 KOs), who beat Hall of Fame Boxer Fritzie Zivic twice during his entertaining career.

"This show means a lot to all of us at CES," Burchfield said. "We're honoring a fighter from Federal Hill (Italian-American section of Providence) known as 'The Ripper,' the toughest guy ever to put two gloves on, Ralph Zanelli. And the main event has another great fighter from Federal Hill, Gary 'Tiger' Balletto, who called me three weeks ago saying he wanted to fight again in Providence. No 140-pounder has a bigger heart or punch than 'Tiger' Balletto."

In the eight-round co-feature, No. 7 world rated cruiserweight Matt "Too Smooth" Godfrey (13-0, 7 KOs) takes on NABC cruiserweight champion Lloyd "Jabba" Bryan (22-14, 10 KOs) in a non-title fight. Godfrey is the reigning NBA, NABC and WBC Continental Americas cruiserweight title-holder.

Fighting on the undercard against opponents to be determined are 2004 U.S. Olympian Jason "Big Six" Estrada (7-0, 1 KO), IWBF lightweight and featherweight champion Missy "The Fury" Fiorentino (14-1, 6 KOs), Iraqi War veteran Chris Traietti in his CES debut, Richard "Bobo" Starnino (7-1-1, 1 KO), Eddie Soto (6-0, 4 KOs) and Jose Sanchez (1-0, 1 KO). Three exciting amateur matches are also scheduled. All bouts and fighters are subject to change.

Tickets for "Jingle Bell Pop," promoted by Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc. are now on sale at the Connecticut Convention Center (860.249.6000) or by going on line at Ticket prices are $20.00 (students), $30.00 (general admission), $55.00 (Silver VIP), $100.00 (Gold VIP) and $150.00 (limited Jimmy's Platinum Club). Special group rates are available. For more information call CES (401.724.2253/2254 or go to, Rhode Island Convention Center (401.458.6000), 401 Gym (401.261.9800/3436) and Manfredo's Gym (401.723.1354). Doors open at 6 PM, first bout at 6:30 PM.


Gary "Tiger" Balletto: "It feels nice to be fighting in my hometown, Providence. It's been more than three years since I fought here, right in the same place, the Rhode Island Convention Center. I'm not done yet. I'm not happy with my lat fight on The Contender. I'm not happy with my performance. This fight I will give everybody something to talk about. I feel better than ever. I guarantee you it'll be an exciting fight."

Matt "Too Smoth" Godfrey: "I fought my first 12 rounder in my last fight and had a scheduled 12 round fight in May. I've been in the gym all year. Jimmy wanted to give me a break and not have me fight on this show. Boxing is my job. If I sat around during the holidays with nothing to do it would drive me nuts. So I begged Jimmy to put me on this card. I'm happy to be fighting on Gary's card for the first time. I'm going to be in an exciting fight but it won't go long. I've been training hard. I'm hungry. I have three belts and I'm looking for big things December 1 and next year."

Jason "Big Six" Estrada: "I'm going to show everybody how boxing should be done in the heavyweight division. Last Saturday we watched Klitschko and Brock. I'm coming for dudes like them."

Missy "The Fury" Fiorentino: "I have two world titles. The first I won as a featherweight. The last fight against Jaime Clampitt I moved up two divisions to lightweight. I had to decide whether to fight as a featherweight or lightweight, but I decided to try going to another title at 130 for one title I don't have right now. I'm fighting at 130 this fight and Jimmy's getting me a world title fight in February at 130. I've been working hard with (head trainer) Peter (Manfredo, Sr.)."

Chris Traietti: "December 1st is going to be something. I want to thank Jimmy (Burchfield) for giving me this opportunity. I just want to fight. I know I'm only in a four round fight but I guarantee you won't be disappointed."

Jose Sanchez: "I'm ready to fight."

Article posted on 15.11.2006

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