"Tiger" Balletto Headlines "Jingle Bell Pop," Dec. 1

PROVIDENCE (November 23, 2006) The Contender 2 star Gary "Tiger" Balletto is a real fighter and that's the primary reason he is headlining 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 since February 6, when he lost a five round decision to Noberto Bravo, eliminating "Tiger" from The Contender 2 series. "No fighter likes to leave the ring a loser and just walk away," Balletto explained why he's still fighting. "It was the same story in my fight before The Contender (Balletto lost a 12-round majority decision to Gregorio Vargas on ESPN2 and at the R.I. Convention Center). I have plenty of ability and feel I can go with anybody. I just hadn't focused on boxing but now I'm ready to go. I have no goals right now, just fighting one fight at a time. I'm not sure where it'll end up.

"I'm more comfortable fighting at 140 pounds. I still feel strong. When I was on The Contender, I'd been out of the ring 2 years and didn't have sparring or the tools to get ready (for five round fights). I trained hard, ran hard and I finished first running everyday. But something's been missing. I have the ability. Joey Spina trains in Las Vegas with Mayweather and a lot of top fighters. He said nobody trains like me. It's like Rocky Balboa stuff only real. I've been sparring five nights a week for this fight. Now it's all about timing."

Balletto takes on CBA welterweight champion "Mayhem" Matthew Strode (20-1, 9 KOs), fighting out of Greensboro (NC), in the 10-round main event.

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 will also air Friday, Dec. 15 (8 PM start) and Saturday, Dec. 16 (9 PM start) on the Cox Network.

"Jingle Bell Pop" is being dedicated to 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.

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

Fighting on the undercard are former Commonwealth light middleweight and welterweight champion Ossie Duran (22-5-1, 9 KOs), IWBF lightweight and featherweight champion Missy "The Fury" Fiorentino (14-1, 6 KOs), Iraqi War veteran Chris Traietti in his CES debut against Troy Higgins (0-2), Richard "Bobo" Starnino (7-1-1, 1 KO) meets Adrian Redmond *2-4, 2 KOs), Eddie Soto (6-0, 4 KOs) tangles with Omar Ballard (5-8, 2 KOs), and Jose Sanchez (1-0, 1 KO) takes on Phil Nazario making his pro debut. Three exciting amateur matches are also scheduled. 2004 U.S. Olympian Jason "Big Six" Estrada has been pulled from the card due to an injury. All bouts and fighters are subject to change.

Four excited amateur matches are also scheduled: 85 lbs., Bruce Soscia (RI Boxing) vs. Devan Pena (Kananze Boxing); 90 lbs., Jimmy Perella (Manfredo's Gym) vs. Brian DeJesus (Ring 1); 155 lbs.; Publio Pena (401 Boxing) vs. Rubin Ortiz (Balletto's Gym); 170 lbs., Keith Kozlin (RI Boxing) vs. James Montero (Kananze Boxing)

Tickets for "Jingle Bell Pop," promoted by Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc. are now on sale at the Rhode Island 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.

Article posted on 23.11.2006

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