The heart of boxing in the northeast used to beat the loudest in Philadelphia, where ring warriors such as Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier and Bernard Hopkins are rightfully considered among the all-time greats, not to mention New York, the home of legendary champions Rocky Graziano, Mike Tyson and “Sugar” Ray Robinson, among others.
Just 200 miles north, away from the constant clamor and commotion of the urban lifestyle, tucked along the beautiful shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean, there’s a new bounding pulse making noise on the surface of boxing’s vast landscape, its rhythmic throbbing too loud and too prominent to ignore.
With three of New England’s top professionals entering the prime of their careers and new talent developing under the watchful eye of longtime promoter Jimmy Burchfield Sr., CES Boxing has reestablished its footing as the region’s No. 1 promotion.
CES’ top prospects, Jimmy Williams of New Haven, Conn.; Khiary Gray-Pitts of Worcester, Mass.; and Nick DeLomba of Cranston, R.I., enter the summer of 2015 a combined 23-0-1 with 11 knockouts. Unmatched in its eye for talent and volume of crowd-pleasing events, CES has also signed amateur standout Julio Perez of Massachusetts to a promotional agreement while putting the finishing touches its 2016 schedule, which will feature 11 shows.
CES Boxing returns to Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., on July 17th for the second installment of its 2015 Twin River Fight Series, which also includes events Sept. 4th and Nov. 13th.
“We’ve been at this a long, long time and no one knows this area or has their finger on the pulse of boxing in the northeast the way CES does,” Burchfield said. “We’re in the business of making champions and I fully believe our young crop of talent will develop into the elite fighters you will one day see on every major network.
“The sky’s the limit, not only for the fighters under the promotional guidance of CES Boxing, but for our company itself as we continue to bring our loyal fans the best this sport has to offer.”
The most established of CES’ young guns, Williams (9-0-1, 5 KOs) is coming off his most impressive win to date, a fourth-round knockout over tough veteran Eddie Caminero in February, a stoppage so picturesque it landed a spot later that night among ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 highlights.
“That was a good fight for me. It showed my fans what I’m made of,” said Williams, a former college football standout in Connecticut now fighting in the junior middleweight division at 154 pounds. “I can do it all. Boxer, slugger, whatever it takes to win a fight.”
With five consecutive wins under his belt since his lone blemish (a draw against Greg Jackson in 2013), Williams is preparing to return to the ring this summer as he continues his quest toward cracking the 154-pound world ratings while eventually challenging for – and winning – a world title.
“That’s the goal, but I’m taking it one fight at a time,” he said. “I’ve just got to keep focusing and keep winning. There’s a lot of great talent here in New England, a lot of good, young fighters trying to make a name for themselves.”
Among them is DeLomba (7-0, 1 KO), the 25-year-old welterweight protégé of Gary Balletto who has finally found stability both in and outside of the ring.
Having endured turmoil within his camp during the early stages of his professional career, DeLomba has formed an unbreakable bond with his new trainer, Victor Fagnant. His newfound dedication and focus has shown in the ring, where DeLomba earned his first career knockout in April, pummeling Connecticut vet Joe Wilson Jr. in a third-round stoppage.
“I worked on sitting down on my punches and getting the maximum amount of leverage on each punch,” explained DeLomba.
“I feel like now that we’ve got a complete team, everything is starting to fall into place. I’ve got the right people backing me. Everything from cutting weight to personal training to boxing with Coach Vic, everything is falling into place. I’m a much more complete fighter.”
With wins over four New England welterweights already on his resume, DeLomba will return to the ring July 17th at Twin River to put his unbeaten record on the line.
“New England is definitely on the rise. Boxing, period, is on the rise,” DeLomba said. “We’ve got a lot of great fighters. I’ve fought a ton of them, both with and against them. There’s a lot of talent out here and a lot of great things to come for each and every one of us.”
Arguably the most electrifying prospect in New England, Gray-Pitts (7-0, 5 KOs) has kept the beat going with five knockout wins since making his professional debut in June of 2014. Having fought an unprecedented seven times within the last 11 months, Gray-Pitts boasts an impressive streak of four consecutive first-round knockouts fighting in the junior middleweight division.
“I feel like I’m getting better with each fight,” he said. “Each win is a step in the right direction.”
His success has struck fear in the hearts of New England’s fellow junior middleweights and earned Gray-Pitts a reputation as one of the most feared – and avoided – fighters in the region.
“I dealt with that in the amateurs, too,” Gray-Pitts said. “When I started getting knockouts fight after fight, no one in New England wanted to fight me. I fought tournaments in New York and even went to Washington just to get fights.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes since my first fight,” he continued. “I’m throwing more punches and putting more behind each punch. I just want to stay active, stay busy and keep my record up.”
The signing of Perez, an amateur vet born in Puerto Rico and raised in Marlboro as a teenager, is one of many additions CES plans to announce in the near future, in addition to its complete 2016 schedule. A former Southern New England Golden Gloves champion, Perez will make his professional debut this summer.
For more information on CES Boxing and its upcoming schedule, visit www.cesboxing.com, follow @CESBoxing on Twitter and Instagram and join the official CES Boxing fan page on Facebook.