Nick DeLomba has been around the sport of boxing long enough to know it’s as unpredictable as the weather. It’ll throw you a curveball when you’re expecting a fastball down the plate.
Though he’s still only five years into his professional career, which began at Twin River Casino Hotel in 2013, the Cranston, R.I., native (13-2, 3 KOs) is well-seasoned in the art of boxing politics.
In the past year, he’s had bouts canceled, opponents disappear and fights he didn’t even agree to plastered all over social media, so it was an easy decision for DeLomba when approached by CES Boxing president Jimmy Burchfield Sr. to rejoin the team that launched his career five years ago.
Fittingly, DeLomba’s first fight back with CES Boxing will be in the same venue where it all began on Friday, Sept. 14th, 2018 when DeLomba defends his Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) All America Super Lightweight Title in the main event against Louisiana’s Chris Singleton (18-5-2, 8 KOs) at Twin River Casino Hotel.
“It feels amazing,” DeLomba said. “I’m back home where I belong.”
The last time DeLomba entered the ring at Twin River, he jumped a few pounds to welterweight to face New Haven’s Jimmy Williams in April of 2017 for the then vacant WBC USNBC title, a tremendous opportunity to fight for boxing’s famed green belt. Williams, the much bigger fighter on fight night, won by an overwhelming majority decision. DeLomba hasn’t fought above 140 pounds since and he’ll remain at super lightweight next Friday, where he finally gets to enjoy the size advantage, in what could be his toughest test against the slick, fleet-footed Singleton, who heads north for the first time in his career for the opportunity to bring a title back home to Baton Rouge.
Because nothing is ever easy in the sport of boxing, DeLomba has had to change gears in camp to prepare for a new opponent. He was originally supposed to face undefeated Irish super lightweight Ray Moylette, but Moylette withdrew a little a more than a month from fight night due to a hand injury sustained in training camp.
Singleton hopped on board a week later, giving DeLomba more than enough time to adjust to the change in opponent. Singleton actually bears some resemblance to Amos Cowart, who DeLomba beat decisively in September of 2016 except for the fact Cowart is a southpaw and Singleton is a right-hander.
“Hopefully, I can put together the same kind of fight,” DeLomba said. “[Singleton] throws a lot of sneaky check hooks and uppercuts, overhand rights. He’s a counterpuncher. I feel as though if he’s not the aggressor, he’s not as busy.
“I want to put pressure on him because he won’t throw as many chances. He’s busy coming forward, but not if you bring the fight to him, and I like to bring the fight to my opponent. I’m not wild or careless. I’m strategic with a game plan, but sometimes you have to throw those styles out the window and just bring it to him and overpower him.”
DeLomba’s eight-round main event showdown is one of nine fights on a stacked card for CES Boxing that features an eclectic blend of fan-favorites and new faces. The promotion recently signed six fighters, four of whom will make their Twin River debuts on the 14th.
Tickets for the event start at $47 and are available online at www.cesboxing.com, www.twinriver.com, www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 401-723-2253 or at the Twin River Casino Hotel Players Club. All fights and fighters subject to change.
The 28-year-old DeLomba hopes re-signing with CES Boxing adds some stability to his career and helps point him in the right direction again after a tumultuous two-year stretch of testing the waters with various promotions.
What has always stood out about DeLomba is the fact he’s been willing to fight anyone at any given time, often jumping into fights others felt he might not win. In just his fourth pro fight, he stepped up to face New Haven’s Edwin Soto, who was 9-1-2 at the time, in Soto’s backyard, scoring a majority decision win to remain undefeated. In May of 2016, he faced unbeaten Worcester prospect Freddy Sanchez, who was considered the favorite in some circles, and cruised to a unanimous decision win. When he announced he was fighting Cowart in 2016, DeLomba vividly remembers the pre-fight chatter.
“People looked at me like I was going to lose, or get knocked out,” he said. “I went out and dominated him.”
With Burchfield and CES Boxing, there’s a certain comfort level he hasn’t felt anywhere else. The promotion launched his career in 2013, starting with a rare six-rounder in his pro debut against Jimmy Smith, which DeLomba won in a bloody unanimous decision. He won his first eight pro fights before suffering his first pro defeat and even then didn’t look to take the easy road back to the top, instead jumping in the ring with the then 7-0 Sanchez just eight months after getting stopped by Gledwin Ortiz.
“There’s that respect level you don’t get when you’re moving around and fighting between different promoters on different shows at different venues,” DeLomba said. “I know what I’m going to get with Jimmy.”
After beating Louis Cruz in December to capture the UBF title in December, DeLomba didn’t fight again until July. A proposed bout against Connecticut’s Mykquan Williams in May fell through for unexplained reasons, though it was still announced via social media even though DeLomba had never signed a contract. Williams went on to fight Orlando Felix instead.
DeLomba eventually shook off the rust in late July in New Hampshire as Burchfield partnered with Granite Chin Promotions for DeLomba’s bout against Rashaan Blackburn, which ended in a first-round knockout win for DeLomba. Even then, DeLomba had to deal with several opponent changes before fight night while trying to keep his training and conditioning up to par.
“You have to just stay active in the gym and keep a clear mindset. I can’t let things affect me. Whether the opponent cancels or pulls out, I’m always working,” DeLomba said.
“Opponents change. It doesn’t matter. We work hard, train, and come up with a game plan while working on things we’re supposed to work on, and when we get an opponent, we tweak things to his style.”
With Singleton, DeLomba has simply switched up his sparring to accommodate for a slight difference in height against a now shorter opponent, otherwise it’s business as usual as he prepares for his long-awaited Twin River homecoming.
“There’s nothing like being in your hometown and being at that wonderful venue,” DeLomba said. “There’s nothing like coming out to that crowd. When I walk out there, I feel at home, like I’m on top of the world.”
Sept. 14th also features the return of unbeaten prospects Anthony Marsella Jr. (9-0, 4 KOs) of Providence and Pawtucket, R.I., featherweight Ricky Delossantos (5-0, 1 KO). Marsella Jr. faces Maine’s Brandon Berry (13-3-2, 8 KOs) in a six-round super lightweight showcase while Delossantos steps up in a six-round bout to face the dangerous Jose Ortiz (3-3-2, 1 KO) of Jersey City, N.J.
Also in the featherweight division, Providence’s Phil Dudley (1-1) returns to face unbeaten Ranse Andino (1-0) of Worcester and Fall River, Mass., super lightweight Kris Jacobs makes his professional debut in a four-round bout against the entertaining Andy Aiello (1-1) of Bridgewater, Mass.
CES Boxing will also introduce four of its highly-touted prospects on the 14th, starting with 6-foot-8 Nigerian heavyweight Raphael Akpejiori, a former college football and basketball for the University of Miami now trained by two-time world champion Glen Johnson. Akpejiori faces Texas veteran Omar Acosta (1-1, 1 KO) in a four-round bout.
Female lightweight sensation Shayna Foppiano (1-0, 1 KO) of Everett, Mass., makes her Twin River against Sarah Click (0-1) of Buzzard’s Bay, also fighting for CES Boxing for the first time after stepping into the cage with CES MMA in 2017.
Amateur standout Nicholas Briggs of Worcester, who now lives and trains in Rhode Island, makes his professional debut against fellow newcomer Jacob Wright of Decatur, Ala., and Providence’s Victor Reynoso fights for the first time as a professional against debut Maurilio Alava of Ecuador, a professional of 11 fights in mixed martial arts. The 6-foot-1 Briggs won 50 fights as an amateur while Reynoso enters fresh off a trip to the United States National Amateur Boxing Championships in Aurora, Ill.