A wild night at Twin River Casino ended with a dramatic finish and a new champion crowned in the super welterweight division.
Fighting with a heavy heart, Edwin Soto (12-2-2, 6 KOs) of New Haven, Conn., stunned the Twin River crowd with a second-round knockout win over Ray Oliveira Jr. (9-2) of New Bedford, Mass., in the main event to capture the vacant World Boxing Union (WBU) Canadian American Mexican Title.
Soto got Oliveira’s attention early with a series of clean lefts and then cracked Oliveira again early in the second round, causing his opponent’s knees to momentarily buckle. Smelling blood in the water, Soto closed in, backed Oliveira into the corner and bombarded him with rights and lefts upstairs until referee Steve Smoger stopped the bout 20 seconds into the round. The scheduled eight-round main event highlighted CES Boxing’s 2018 season opener, which streamed on Facebook via FIGHTNIGHT LIVE.
Trained by Marilyn and Luis Rosa, whose late son, Luis Rosa Jr., was inducted into the CES Boxing Ring of Honor earlier in the night, Soto wore black trunks with “KO King Lives” embroidered on the side in memory of his former training partner. Rosa Jr., a 23-1 super bantamweight prospect from New Haven, passed away tragically in an automobile accident in January.
The win was Soto’s third in a row and second since launching his comeback following a two-year layoff in 2017. Oliveira Jr. lost for the first time since dropping a narrow decision to Casey Kramlich in April.
Facing his toughest test to date, Sicilian heavyweight Juiseppe Cusumano (14-1, 12 KOs) continued to make it look easy, overpowering Pittsburgh’s Fred Latham (9-2-2) in Friday’s co-feature to score a first-round knockout at the 2:19 mark, his 12th consecutive win.
The heavy-handed Cusumano caught Latham early, backed him up against the ropes and just unloaded with lefts and rights until referee Steve Smoger mercifully stopped the bout. Cusumano has now won four fights under the CES Boxing banner, all by knockout.
Lightweight Jamaine Ortiz (8-0) continued his climb to the top of his weight class on the preliminary card, out-boxing Laredo, Tex., veteran Victor Rosas (9-8) to earn a 60-54 unanimous decision win on all three scorecards. Ortiz was simply too crafty and too quick for Rosas, who continued to come forward, but could not close the distance.
Providence, R.I., super lightweight Anthony Marsella Jr. (8-0) also remained unbeaten with a methodical, unanimous decision win over Cancun challenger Israel Villela (6-9), 60-54 on all three scorecards. Marsella Jr. scored effectively on the outside and kept his distance from Villela, who tried in vain to box on the inside, but couldn’t stay off the end of Marsella’s jab.
Fighting for the first time since 2016, “Mr. Providence” Vladine Biosse (15-8-3) suffered a left bicep injury in the opening round despite dropping his opponent to the canvas and wound up on the losing end of a 57-56, 58-55, 56-57 split decision against Atlantic City vet Antowyan Aikens (12-4-1), who poured it in the middle rounds.
Judge Eddie Scuncio still had Biosse controlling the third and fourth rounds, but Martha Tremblay and Ken Ezzo had Aikens winning rounds two through five to pull away late. Aikens won for just the second time in six fights. Biosse last fought in May of 2016 when he dropped a split decision to Peter Manfredo Jr.
The fight of the night on the preliminary card featured Springfield, Mass., welterweight Miguel Ortiz (3-1) earning a hard-fought 40-35, 40-35, 40-35 unanimous decision win over debut Wilson Mascarenhas (0-1) of New Bedford, who fought tooth and nail after a slow start.
The seasoned Ortiz applied pressure early and dropped Mascarenhas in the second round. A stoppage seemed imminent, but Mascarenhas survived the round and suddenly began utilizing his angles, catching Ortiz with clean right hands on the way in. Though the late rounds appeared close, Ortiz still earned the shutout with the 10-8 second round included.
Making his Twin River debut, Johnston, R.I., junior welterweight Nicky DeQuattro (3-0) kept his perfect record intact with a unanimous decision win over Carlos Galindo (0-2) of Peru, 40-36 on all three scorecards.
Taunton, Mass., welterweight Marqus Bates (3-2) opened the preliminary card with an impressive win, defeating Latorie Woodberry (1-6) of Roanoke, Va., by unanimous decision, 40-35, 40-36, 40-36. Coming off a controversial loss to Travis Demko in September, Bates controlled this one from the opening bell, scoring a 10-8 round in the second despite not dropping his opponent.
Also in preliminary action, featherweight Ricky Delossantos (4-0, 1 KO) of Pawtucket, R.I., remained undefeated with his first career knockout win, punishing Efren Nunez (0-1) of New Bedford to earn the stoppage at 2:23 of the third round. Nunez kept pace early, but Delossantos unloaded with a serious of unanswered shots toward the end of the third, prompting referee Danny Schiavone to stop the bout.
Lightweight Michael Valentin (4-0) of had his hands full with St. Louis native Demetrius Wilson (2-5), but did just enough to remain undefeated with a 37-37, 38-36, 38-36 majority decision win. A knockdown in the third round was the difference for Valentin, who utilized his trademark and foot speed to stay out of harm’s way for most of the fight, though Wilson did a nice job at times cutting off the ring to force Valentin against the ropes.