PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Sept. 5, 2013) — Nick DeLomba has always done things differently than everyone else.
When he made his professional boxing debut in May, he came out of the gate fighting a six-round bout, not the typical four-rounder most newcomers start out with. Not even former Olympians Jason Estrada or Demetrius Andrade did that, nor did amateur standout Toka Khan, who didn’t fight a six-rounder until his seventh professional bout.
“Without having won a national championship or title, I felt I had to do something different,” DeLomba said. “So that is what I did. Now I don’t want to take any steps back. I want to keep moving forward.”
DeLomba (1-0) will again add his own unique twist to the event on Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 at Twin River Casino when he fights in honor of his former mentor and close friend Gary Balletto, who sustained injuries in an accident at his home in July that left him in critical condition. As he continues his road to recovery, Balletto has become an inspiration to those within his inner circle, including the 23-year-old DeLomba, who formed a special bond with the former Cranston, R.I., lightweight champion the moment he stepped foot in his gym eight years ago.
“I trained with him, sparred with him, helped him train — our typical Friday night was me, him and his trainer in the gym. We’d be the only ones there,” DeLomba said.
“I even helped him move into his house. We’re close, like family. Gary is the kind of person who always gives back to other people, so I want to give something back to him.”
After a back-and-forth battle with Jimmy Smith in his debut — a fighter he faced twice as an amateur — DeLomba will face another tough test next Friday against Lancaster, Pa., welterweight Evincii Dixon (2-1, 1 KO) in a six-round bout on the undercard of Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “Champion Breed” show at the Twin River Event Center.
“This will be a step up,” DeLomba said, “but, he hasn’t fought a six-rounder yet.”
DeLomba already has, which he hopes gives him the edge next Friday night against Dixon, a 22-year-old prospect under the guidance of Terry Nye, known throughout boxing for his work with former two-time welterweight world champion Kermit Cintron.
“When I went back and watched the film from my debut, I heard [commentator] Peter [Manfredo Jr.] mention how he was nervous in his first fight. I had no nerves or jitters,” DeLomba said. “It was just like another day in the gym for me.
“I did what I do best. The six-rounders give me more time to break my opponent down. That’s why I like them. That’s what kind of person I am. I’m a hard-worker. I’m better conditioned than most fighters.”
As mentally tough as DeLomba is, nothing could prepare him for the initial shock he felt when he first heard the news about Balletto’s accident, a tragic turn of events that turned the boxing world, both locally and nationally, on its ear.
“I almost didn’t believe it at first,” DeLomba said. “I was thinking maybe he just fell, and maybe it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was very hard for me. I couldn’t even be in the gym without thinking about it or having it affect me.”
In between work and training, DeLomba visits Balletto often to help lift his spirits.
“He has his good days and bad days,” he said.
Watching his mentor, a former contestant on The Contender reality television series who won 31 fights (26 by knockout), continue to battle every day in the aftermath of his accident, has inspired DeLomba to do the same.
“It’s definitely a morale-booster,” DeLomba said. “I’m putting in all this extra work for him.
“Even if I didn’t know him like I do, to see someone go through something so dramatic and still have the will to keep fighting, it shows what we can do if we put our mind to something.”
Tickets for “Champion Breed” are $41.00, $76.00, and $126.00 (VIP) and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, at the Players Club booth at Twin River, or through any TicketMaster location. Showtime is 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6.
The main event next Friday is a 10-round showdown for the vacant Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) welterweight world title between Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (10-1, 1 KO) of Marshfield, Mass. (by way of Gliwice, Poland), and the undefeated Tori Nelson (6-0-3) of Ashburn, Va., a former World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight world champion.
The undercard of “Champion Breed” features a six-round cruiserweight showdown between Josh Harris (9-6-1, 7 KOs) of Providence, R.I., and undefeated Beaumont, Tex., veteran Quantis Graves (8-0, 4 KOs), a former amateur standout who was an alternate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team in the heavyweight division. Known for his tremendous punching power, Harris recently stopped 25-year-old prospect Sevdail Sherifi, who was 9-1-2 at the time, in New York City in April.
In a six-round special attraction, unbeaten Ukrainian light welterweight Ivan Redkach (14-0, 12 KOs), now fighting out of Los Angeles, Calif., will put his perfect on the line against Puerto Rican Antonio Sanchez (5-1-2, 3 KOs)
The undercard will also feature a four-round welterweight bout between Cranston’s Jon Smith (2-0, 1 KO) and Antonio Chaves Fernandes (3-11-2) of Brockton. Fernandes is coming off a draw against previously-unbeaten welterweight Greg Vendetti and a majority-decision win over Jesus Javier Cintron in August.
As an added bonus, Twin River and CES have teamed up to offer fight fans and VIP customers an exclusive offer with their ticket purchase. Show your ticket stub at the event, join the Twin River Rewards Club and get a free $25 Twin River gift card and two free tickets to a Twin River concert. CES has upped the ante by offering an additional $25 gift certificate to either Meritage or Chardonnay’s restaurant in Rhode Island with the purchase of a $126 Jimmy’s Club VIP ticket.
(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “Game On.” Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must enter through the West entrance.)