PROVIDENCE, R.I. (June 27th, 2013) — The storyline might as well have been ripped right off the pages of a professional wrestling manuscript.
After slowing down the red-hot Joey Gardner in May, veteran super middleweight Rich Gingras (13-3, 8 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I., will now challenge Providence’s own Vladine Biosse (15-2-1, 7 KOs) for the New England Super Middleweight Title on Saturday, July 27th, 2013 at Twin River Casino.
As if the fight itself wasn’t exciting enough, Gingras has upped the ante by seeking the tutelage of Biosse’s former trainer, Orlondo Valles, whom Biosse parted ways with in February to work with Paul Andrade, the father of unbeaten light middleweight prospect Demetrius Andrade. Both sides insist there’s no bad blood between them, and Biosse has even gone as far as to credit Valles for getting his career off the ground, but it’s become increasingly clear there will be tension next month when the two camps meet face-to-face for the first time. It’s not just Biosse’s title on the line; there’s pride at stake, too.
“For Orlondo to do that, it’s a little slick, but it’s whatever,” Biosse said of Valles training Gingras. “Everyone needs to make a name for themselves in this game.”
The 8-round super middleweight showdown between Biosse and Gingras is the main event of “Game On,” presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports. Coincidentally, it will be the first sporting event at Twin River since the casino introduced live table games at the beginning of June. Excitement will be at an all-time high come July 27th, and the fight card is shaping up to be CES’ strongest of 2013. In addition to the turf war between Gingras and Biosse, middleweight Thomas Falowo (10-1, 7 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I., will star in his first 8-round co-feature while Willimantic, Conn., light heavyweight Kevin Cobbs (7-1, 2 KOs) will face his toughest test to date in a 6-round bout against unbeaten Philadelphia prospect Todd Unthank-May (7-0, 2 KOs).
Tickets for “Game On” 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. Doors open 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.
Gingras, 32, has embraced the underdog role as he prepares for next month’s title bout – “He’s the champion. He holds the title. He has all the pressure. No one expects me to win,” Gingras said – but working with Valles might level the playing field.
“I had been thinking switching camps for a couple of months now,” Gingras said. “I had a great camp, but they were far away – Quincy [Massachusetts] was a long haul for me – and they didn’t watch any tape for me. I was left to do that myself. They didn’t come to the weigh-ins either. I was left by myself.
“I’ve come to a point in my career where I don’t have a lot of time left, and I knew [Biosse] had left Orlondo. I was actually thinking about Orlondo a couple of months ago. I’ve known him for years. He was kind of my go-to guy when I had a question about an opponent. I would call him up because I knew he’d give me an honest answer. When I found out [Biosse] left him, it made perfect sense.
“He’s an up-and-coming trainer. I don’t think he gets the recognition he deserves because he’s under the shadow of the Manfredos and other trainers in the area, but he’s definitely a great trainer.”
With or without Valles, Biosse has moved on and is now preparing for his second fight under Andrade’s tutelage. The first was an impressive, unanimous-decision win over Philadelphia veteran Latif Mundy in May in which Biosse controlled the fight from start to finish. He recently returned from a two-week trip to Oakland, Calif., where he trained with super middleweight world champion Andre Ward at King’s Boxing Gym along with former welterweight world champion Andre Berto and unbeaten super middleweight prospect Brendan Gonzales of Sacramento. He’s also planning a possible trip to Atlanta for an additional training camp prior to the fight.
“Working with Paul has opened a lot of new doors for me,” Biosse said. “I’ve done a lot of different things I never had the chance to do in the boxing game.
“Boxing is not just physical; being able to talk to some of these fighters in addition to training with them and seeing how they handle things takes my understanding of the game to the next level. They’ve opened their arms to me, not just with boxing, but with strength and conditioning, road work, track workouts – it’s been great.”
The transition from Valles to Andrade was as seamless as possible for Biosse, especially on fight night against Mundy. The two were in sync from the opening bell.
“I was extremely comfortable,” Biosse said. “[Andrade] doesn’t make things difficult. We worked on some things and had a simple game plan for that fight. In the ring, we executed it. I was comfortable; it’s not rocket science.
“I felt prepared, and that’s what gave me that edge.”
The win over Mundy put Biosse back on the right path following his knockout loss to Marcus Upshaw in January, his last fight under the guidance of Valles. July 27th figures to be a tougher challenge. The hard-hitting Gingras, who will be training with Valles in Central Falls, R.I., at Grundy’s Gym, has never been stopped in 17 professional fights; his only knockout loss occurred due to a cut over his eye in May of 2012. Gingras will also be cool and confident as the self-anointed underdog, a role Biosse is familiar with; in his third defense of the N.E. Super Middleweight Title last year, Biosse was considered an underdog against veteran Joey Spina, whom he beat handedly by unanimous decision.
The chance to defend his title for a fourth time since winning it in 2010 and remain New England’s No. 1 fighter in the super middleweight division is enough motivation for Biosse to put his best foot forward next month against Gingras.
“I’m a competitor. That’s my nature,” Biosse said. “Of course I want to be that top guy.
“Rich is tough. I know what kind of work he puts in. Outside of boxing, I know a lot about his character and the kind of person he is, but this is part of the business. Sometimes I wish to not get involved with certain people because of friendships, but it’s a business and you’ve got to take this business for what it is and do what you’ve got to do.”
Gingras actually helped Biosse prepare for the fight against Spina as one his regular sparring partners – “We always had real competitive sparring matches. It was back and forth. There were a few times where we even talked trash,” recalled Gingras – but admits he and Biosse will probably remain distant until fight night.
“We still have each other’s phone numbers,” he said, “but there hasn’t been much contact since the contracts were signed.”
Gingras’ motivation is simple; in addition to fighting for Biosse’s coveted title, he will finally achieve his goal of raising his game to the next level against elite competition. The win over Gardner was a step in the right direction. Now comes the next test against the reigning N.E. Super Middleweight Champion.
“My last fight with [Gardner] was a good fight, and it made me realize that fighting down to the level of your competition brings you down as a fighter,” Gingras said. “I used to go into fights with this subconscious feeling that I had already won before I even threw the first punch. This one is bringing out the fight in me.
“I’ve got nothing to lose. Win or lose, I’m going to gain more fans after this fight because of the way I fight, and, trust me, I’m going to bring it. I can only go above where I am right now just from this fight alone. He’s got all the pressure. I’m just going to go in there like a maniac. Even if he can outbox me, I’m a dangerous son of a [gun]. It doesn’t matter what skill level there is. I’m a puncher and I have great conditioning. I was ready for 12 rounds in my last fight, and I’m going to be in better shape this time.
“The trainers are probably going to be more emotionally involved than the fighters,” Gingras said with a laugh. “I know Orlondo’s loud and I know Andrade has a big mouth, too. The weigh-in is going to be interesting. I can guarantee that.”
“Game On,” will also feature the return of cruiserweight Josh Harris (9-6-1, 7 KOs), formerly of Youngstown, Ohio, and now training out of Providence, and New London, Conn., female bantamweight Shelito Vincent (9-0), who will fight in a separate six-round bout. Fellow female bantamweight Marcia Agripino of Groton, Conn., will make her professional debut against Brooklyn’s Vanessa Greco (1-2-3) and Providence super middleweight KJ Harrison-Lombardi (1-0) will make his Twin River debut against Boston’s Maceo Crowder (2-1) in a four-round bout. Brockton, Mass., heavyweight Julian Pollard (2-0, 2 KOs) will also fight in a separate four-round bout. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
(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.)