Nicknamed “The Villian,” hard-nosed Stoneham, Mass., junior middleweight Greg Vendetti made a lasting impression in his first career bout at Twin River Casino on Friday, defeating Khiary Gray by majority decision to retain his New England Championship in a scintillating main event.
Vendetti (15-2-1) out-worked Gray (14-3) over eight rounds, bulldozing his way to the inside and landing looping, overhand rights while also working the body effectively for the majority of the fight. Gray, who found himself circling the ring most of the night, landed sporadically in exchanges, but could not match Vendetti’s workload on the inside; “The Villian,” fighting in front of a heavy crowd of hometown fans from Stoneham, earned a 76-76, 77-75, 78-74 decision over the Worcester, Mass., native Gray, his 11th consecutive win since signing with Boston-based promotion Murphys Boxing.
Gray has now lost three of his last four bouts, including a back-and-forth eight-round battle with Brooklyn’s Courtney Pennington in February. In a fight both sides have yearned for over the past year and a half, Gray and Vendetti delivered, fighting aggressively for eight hard rounds, even taunting each other at times with following close exchanges at the bell.
Friday’s event, promoted by CES Boxing in association with Murphys Boxing, featured eight exciting bouts live on FITE TV Pay Per View, including a back-and-forth co-feature war between Whitman, Mass., junior middleweight Mark DeLuca (19-0) and Chicago’s Chris Chatman (14-7-1) with DeLuca earning a 78-73 decision on all three scorecards. Chatman hit the canvas in the sixth and still earned a split of the final two rounds on two of the scorecards, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap against DeLuca, who was the busier of the two fighters in the early rounds and built a sizeable lead heading into the stretch run.
Returning to Twin River for the first time since April, Providence, R.I., lightweight and fan favorite Anthony Marsella Jr. (5-0) faced adversity in his scheduled six-round bout against Texas native Abraham Torres (3-2), rising from the canvas in the fourth round courtesy of a flash knockdown and turning on the pressure in the fifth and six to earn a 58-55, 58-55, 57-56 unanimous decision win to keep his perfect record intact.
The knockdown occurred as the two exchanged a close furry in the center of the ring, with Torres getting the edge with a short right upstairs. Marsella continued to mix it up with his opponent in the fifth and sixth, but also boxed more effectively on angles, dodging Torres’ punches and scoring from a distance to keep Torres off balance.
Sicilian heavyweight Juiseppe Cusumano (11-1, 9 KOs), making his Twin River and CES debut, impressed his first-time viewers with a devastating knockout win over Delaware’s Dan Biddle (9-6), sending Biddle to the canvas three times with body blows in the second round, forcing referee Eddie Claudio to stop the bout at the 2:36 mark.
Facing the toughest test of his career – and facing am undefeated opponent for the third time since turning pro – Worcester, Mass., middleweight Kendrick Ball Jr. (7-0-2) earned a hard-fought unanimous decision win over Bloomfield, N.J., vet Godson Noel (6-1-1), 58-56, 58-56, 59-55. Ball was the aggressor for the entire fight, boxing effectively off the ropes, utilizing his angles while doubling up with quick uppercuts on the inside and short hooks. Noel landed in short bunches, but Ball was busier throughout and landed the cleaner, more impactful blows.
Making his professional debut, Providence, R.I., super featherweight Michael Valentin (1-0, 1 KO) dazzled the crowd with an impressive, 55-second knockout win over debut challenger Kevin De Freitas (0-1) of Somerville, Mass. Valentin, debuting at the age of 18, took his time to feel out his opponent in the opening seconds, then unloaded with a flurry along the ropes that sent De Freitas down and out.
Also on the undercard, Salem, Mass., junior welterweight Matt Doherty (7-3-1) narrowly defeated Providence’s Cido Hoff (1-2-1) by majority decision, 39-37, 39-37, 38-38. Judges Steve Weisfeld and Martha Tremblay scored it in favor of Doherty while Ken Ezzo had it even at 38 apiece. Doherty has now won three in a row, including a big knockout win over Julio Perez in February.
Fighting for the second time since making his debut in April, Providence featherweight Ricky Delossantos ran his record to 2-0 with an impressive 39-36, 38-37, 38-37 unanimous decision win over tough New Jersey native Malcolm Simms (0-1-1). Fresh off a win over Phil Davis two months ago, Delossantos sent Simms crashing to the canvas with an overhand right in the second round and controlled the final two rounds to earn his second win in as many fights.