The following are quotes from Monday’s pep rally / press conference at Rocky’s Food, Spirits & Music in Worcester to promote CES Boxing’s February 19th, 2016 season opener at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I.
The upcoming event features Worcester’s Khiary Gray (11-0, 9 KOs) in the 10-round main event against Washington’s Cameron Sevilla-Rivera (6-2-1, 5 KOs) for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) Youth World Junior Middleweight Title, plus a 10-round co-feature bout between Providence, R.I., middleweight Kali Reis (7-5-1, 3 KOs) and New Mexico’s Victoria Cisneros (12-18-2, 5 KOs) for the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) Middleweight World Title.
Worcester junior welterweight Freddy Sanchez (7-0, 5 KOs) puts his unbeaten record on the line in a 6-round bout against Lancaster, Pa., vet Evincii Dixon and Alaskan middleweight Fatlum Zhuta (2-0, 2 KOs) returns to Twin River to face Greg McCoy of New Haven, Conn., in a 4-round bout.
Massachusetts junior welterweights Mohamed Allam (1-1) of Holyoke, Julio Perez (3-0) of Marlborough, Timmy Ramos (2-0-1, 2 KOs) of Framingham and Travis Demko (4-0, 1 KO) of Stoughton are featured on the undercard in separate 4-round bouts.
Tickets for the Feb. 19th season debut are priced at $40, $75 and $125 (VIP) and are available for purchase online at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, by phone at 401-724-2253/2254 or at the Twin River Casino Players Club.
For more information visit www.cesboxing.com or follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cesboxing. Updates are also available at www.facebook.com/cesboxing.
Fife, Wash., junior middleweight
“First and foremost, I want to thank CES for the opportunity. I know they’re putting their fighter through the ringer against someone who will fight back a little bit. He’s a very come-forward fighter and I respect that. I’m excited to see what happens when he takes a step back.”
Trainer, Khiary Gray
“I want to thank our team, the entire team CES. I want to thank my team, Sean Fitzgerald, my cut man, Chico Lopez, my No. 2, my advisor, the new guy on our team, Tank [Steve Tankanow], and I’d also like to thank the [Camp Get Right] ladies and all the people from our gym who buy tickets. Also, Khiary’s mom, Khiary’s dad, for their whole support. February 19th, we’re fighting for the WBC Youth World Championship. This is a big fight for us. We don’t underestimate anyone we fight. We go into every fight with a game plan. Our first game plan is we’re going to come home with the belt, we’re going to bring it back to Worcester. Our second game plan is Khiary is going to go in and look as sharp as he did in his first 11 fights. People who know or have seen Khiary, the kid can fight. You’ve seen his power, you’ve seen his speed. This fight here, he’s going to be a little more calm and we’re going to pick this guy apart. I think once he starts feeling Khiary’s power he’s going to curl up and want to get up out of there. I understand he was saying, ‘Can Khiary fight going backwards?’ Well, he’ll see that night we can fight going backwards, he can fight going to the side, he can fight going forward. We have a gear on us that can go anywhere we want to go, and for us to bring the belt back, we’re going to put on a good show and we’re coming back with the belt. Khiary, this fight here is real big. I think we’re starting to move up the ladder and we’re starting to get known more. Us bringing home this belt, it’s going to open up a lot more eyes and we’re hoping other guys will step up to the plate and take fights with us. We want to thank Jimmy Burchfield because we’re 19 months into it going onto our 12th fight. It’s overwhelming to be as busy as we are and as long as Khiary stays healthy and sticks to our game plan and sticks to our goals, the sky’s the limit. Our goal is to be in the same shoes as Jose Rivera, to become a world champion and to do that, you need to be focused, dedicated and give 100 percent to what you need to do. For this fight right here, trust and believe we’re going to give 100 percent and you’re going to get the same results you’ve been getting, a ‘W.’ I’m not going to predict a knockout, but you will get a ‘W.’
Jimmy Burchfield Sr.
CES Boxing President & CEO
“What this fighter [Cameron Sevilla-Rivera] from Washington doesn’t know is not only what punching ability that this young fighter, this young champion [Khiary Gray] has, but when he starts hitting, I’ve never seen anyone work the body like he’s been doing. Kendrick, it’s just been amazing to see the body punching, because that’s what breaks everything down. They’ve done a great, great job.”
Worcester, Mass., junior middleweight
UBF Northeast Junior Middleweight Champion
“I just want to thank CES, my team, Kendrick [Ball], Chico [Lopez], Sean [Fitzgerald], Tank [Steve Tankanow], all my family, Camp Get Right, everyone that’s been here supporting me. Come February 19th, you can expect a whole lot of action coming from me. I’m the main event, but I’m going to steal the show regardless. That’s what I came to do. He says he wants to see me fight backwards. I can fight backwards, just like Ken says, sideways, forward, it doesn’t matter. All the fights I’ve had, they’ve been knockouts. We don’t go out for knockouts in the game plan, but if you make that mistake I’m going to capitalize on it and I’m going to stop you. Come February 19th, he better not make any mistakes, because I’m ending it in the first or third round.”
Steve “Tank” Tankanow
Advisor / agent for Khiary Gray
“I never thought I’d be in this position again, but for the last year and a half, Sean Fitzgerald — you know I managed him — he’d come to my office every month and say, ‘Tank, Tank, Tank! We’ve got a new fighter!’ I’m not interested. Go home. A week later, ‘Tank, Tank, Tank!’ Finally, he wore me down. He got me to go to Twin River to watch the kid fight. I came back and he said, ‘What do you think?’ and I said, ‘I don’t like him, now go away!’ A month later, he says, ‘Tank, Tank, Tank! He’s fighting again!’ I went to the fight and said, ‘He’s getting better, but I’m still not interested.’ This went on for three or four fights. Finally, I went to his last fight [December 18th] and saw him fight and I liked the way he fought. He fought a great fight. I said, ‘Sean, you’re starting to wear me down.’ Finally, Kendrick and Khiary came in and said, ‘We’d like you to work with us.’ I didn’t want to be a manager. I think Kendrick is a great trainer / manager. I’ll be his agent. I’ll navigate him through the pitfalls and the rises. I did it once before. I know how to get someone to be a world champion. I only came on board because I respect Mr. Burchfield. I’ve known him for 15, 20 years. I respect everyone involved with Khiary — Kendrick, Sean, Chicho, who, I don’t know if you’re aware, Chico was the trainer of a world champion. This guy went over to Germany [in 2003] — the three of us — and Jose [Antonio Rivera] beat the German champion [Michael Trabant]. Three little guys from Worcester, whom nobody gave a shot, and he brought the world title home to Worcester, Massachusetts.”
Providence, R.I., middleweight
IBA Middleweight World Champion
“I am so excited. I have not fought on home ground, on USA soil, in well over three years. I’m a road warrior. I’ve been fighting the top, pound-for-pound, middleweight, welterweight, junior welterweight, every weight — if I get the call, I go. I want to fight. I fight. That’s what I do. I put the pound-for-pound, No. 1, undefeated WBO middleweight champ [Christina Hammer] on her ass. I didn’t win, but I got her on her ass and that just tells you I’m supposed to be here. I’m ready to do work on February 19th. I’ve got to thank CES for finally giving me the opportunity to showcase my skills. I’ve been around CES and I’ve been around boxing forever. It’s just a real honor to actually fight at home. I’m fighting a girl, Victoria Cisneros, who comes to fight. She’s a WBC champion and she comes to fight. I don’t put anything past any opponent I’m in front of. It’s seek and destroy. I’ve learned a lot from these past fights. I’ve got losses on my record, but I’ve never been beaten. I’m ready for February 19th.
Worcester, Mass., junior welterweight
“Thank you guys for coming out. I promise February 19th I’ll put on a show like I always do. Like I said, I don’t know anything about this guy I’m fighting, but I’m just going to go fight my fight. That’s about it.”
Trainer, Freddy Sanchez
“Freddy, as you guys know, gets underestimated because he looks skinny like he can’t fight, but once he lands a good shot, the fight changes. He usually has to start chasing guys. I’m just going to keep working off of that and hopefully he knocks out everyone he fights. Pros, that’s why you get 4, 6, 8, 12 rounds. People want to see knockouts and exciting fights. That’s why I’m always pushing my guys to be exciting fighters. I always tell my fighters I’d rather lose getting knocked out trying than going the distance, getting the decision knowing you could’ve done more. If you see me pissed off in that corner, it’s for a reason. I want to see an exciting fight.”
Marlborough, Mass., junior welterweight
“I’m in very good shape. I want to say thank you to CES for putting me on the card. I feel I’m in my greatest shape. I want to thank my coach who’s always been there for me, my father, and thank you all for supporting me.”
Holyoke, Mass., welterweight
“I promise to give a show as I always will and as I always do and I’ll continue to do so for the rest of my life. I promise you I’ll give you the best I’ve got.”
Jose Antonio Rivera
Worcester, Mass., native and former three-time world champion
“I’m honored to be here today with some future world champions. This is great support, everyone being here today. I remember when I was coming up, this is what we were looking for, this is what, as fighters, we strived for. This support, it’s huge, because it helps the promoter keep running shows to keep helping us, the fighters. I’m very happy you guys are here and I’m sure the fighters are happy you guys are here. More importantly, make sure you’re there on February 19th. That’s what’s going to count. There’s a lot of talent here and you’re going to see it on February 19th. Some of the things these fighters know, the hard work, a lot of people don’t understand the hard work it takes to be a world champion, a lot of sacrifice. Those are the things a lot of people don’t see. I want them to be successful, but I want to tell them something: It doesn’t matter how hard you work in the gym, the sacrifices you make outside of the gym are what will help you become a world champion. You’ve got to eat, sleep and live boxing. You’ve got to take care of your body nutrition-wise, you’ve got to go to bed early, you’ve got to do your roadwork, you can’t be going out partying. Sometimes there are no birthdays, no Christmas, no Thanksgiving. We’ve got to sacrifice, because if you sacrifice now, it’s worth it later. When you become a world champion, then you can party. We’ll all party. The city of Worcester will party. The city of Providence will party. Everyone will party after you do your work. It’s like [New England Patriots coach] Bill Belichick says, ‘Do your job.’ On February 19th, you’re going to see some talented fighters do their job. CES is going in the right direction. I’ve been in boxing for 24 years and I’ve seen CES grow tremendously. I wish they were where they’re at now back when I started, but they’re here now and that’s all that matters. Take advantage of what they have to offer.”
Former Worcester, Mass., light heavyweight boxer
“Years ago, we never had anything like this. Mr. Burchfield has his finger on the pulse of boxing. He knows what to do and he does it and he does it right. He does it right. Thank you all for being here tonight. We’ll see you at the fights.”
CES Boxing matchmaker
“All of you fighters around New England, and the trainers and managers, you really don’t understand what’s standing in front of you. There are fighters I make fights for on a weekly basis, they’ve got to pack up and go out of town to fight. There is some really good, talented kids out there with upside down records, but they’re forced to go out of town because they don’t have the ability of having a guy in their area to build a following and build your record and learn along the way to create bigger opportunities down the road. This opportunity, this company, CES Boxing, they are a true boxing promotional company. I’ve got to tell you, I’ve dealt with every promoter in the world and in my honest opinion, there is positively no guy that grinds it out and that really feels and believes in this sport and who truly wants to impact in this business like Jimmy Burchfield. You need everyone to work, not just the fighters, but the trainers and managers and the fans, you’ve got jump on board and support these kids to keep this program going. We need the support from everybody. You’ve got the ground work, you’ve got the platform for huge opportunities that come within time. Get involved, because this is the company.”