What was billed as the Fight of the Year in the northeast way before the first bell rang lived up to the billing Friday night as undefeated Angel Camacho Jr. stopped Rich Gingras in the eighth round of their main event bout at Twin River Casino to capture the New England and Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) International Light Heavyweight Titles.
The win extended Camacho’s unbeaten record to 15-0 with 6 KOs while Gingras – fighting for the first time in a year – dropped to 15-5-1. It was no doubt the biggest win of Camacho’s career, chopping down the gritty Gingras at the 1 minute, 57 second mark of the eighth round and ending a back-and-forth, see-saw battle worthy of all the pre-fight hype and accolades.
The scheduled 10-round main event was the headliner of CES Boxing’s “Mayhem” card. Using his height and reach to his advantage, Providence’s Camacho got off to a fast start, out-boxing Gingras and effectively circling his opponent to score early and often.
Once he solved the distance factor, Gingras, hailing from nearby Lincoln, began to close the gap and pound away at Camacho’s body, fighting back in the middle rounds to pull closer on the scorecards.
The tide turned when Gingras suffered a nasty cut over the left eye, which impaired his vision. He tried to fight through it – twice, in fact, with the ringside physician’s blessing – but Camacho began to take advantage in the seventh before closing it out in the eighth with a series of combinations that forced referee Joey Lupino to stop the fight.
Aside from the thrill of the highly anticipated main event, the night belonged to Worcester, Mass., junior middleweight Khiary Gray (9-0, 6 KOs), who his extended his first-round knockout streak and won his most impressive fight to date, stopping Texan Kenton Sippio-Cook (6-3) at the 2:02 mark of round No. 1 to capture the vacant UBF Northeast Title.
Gray came out swinging, landing early and often against the overwhelmed Sippio-Cook, who eventually hit the canvas courtesy of an overhand right and never made it back to his feet. Gray has now won each of his last six fights – all this year – by first-round knockout, an impressive streak that began in January when he stopped Jake Constant with a body shot at 1:20 mark.
Looking to carry the momentum from his big, come-from-behind win over Juan Rodriguez in July, Nick DeLomba (8-1) returned Friday to face fellow undefeated welterweight Gledwin Ortiz (3-0, 3 KOs) from the Bronx. The tall, rangy Ortiz pulled off the upset on the road, stopping DeLomba and handing the Cranston, R.I., native his first career loss via knockout at the 2:43 mark of the opening round.
Unlike his last fight, when he got up off the canvas and rebounded to win by knockout, DeLomba failed to survive an early knockdown Friday. With wobbly legs, DeLomba tried to gain his composure, but the relentless Ortiz continued to unload and finished DeLomba with a flurry of rights and lefts in the corner, forcing Lupino to stop the bout.
In an early candidate for Fight of the Night, Massachusetts junior welterweights Travis Demko (4-0) of Stoughton and Mohamed Allam (1-1) staged a back-and-forth, four-round war with Demko narrowly winning on all three scorecards, 39-37. Demko’s footwork and ability to stick and move kept Allam at bay, but Allam finally found his rhythm in the later rounds, cutting off the ring and temporarily slowing the pace of the fight. Demko’s work in the early rounds turned out to be the difference as he earned the win in his CES debut.
Worcester, Mass., junior welterweight Freddy Sanchez (6-0, 5 KOs) made quick of work of Boston’s Rafael Francis (0-6), stopping Francis at the 1:55 mark of the second round. Sanchez and Francis fought a year ago in Francis’ professional debut with Sanchez winning narrowly by a majority decision. This time, Francis didn’t have enough in the tank after agreeing to take the fight on 48 hours’ notice when Sanchez’s original opponent, Lazar Stojadinovic, withdrew due to illness Tuesday.
Also making his Twin River debut, New London heavyweight Cassius Chaney (4-0, 3 KOs) cruised past Maryland’s Alando Pugh (1-6-1), who was forced to quit due to a left shoulder injury at the 1:21 mark of the opening round.