PROVIDENCE, R.I. (May 16th, 2013) — Tomorrow night, Shelito Vincent, the unbeaten bantamweight from New London, Conn., will have the opportunity to achieve something most boxers only dream about when she fights Angel Gladney for the vacant Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) International championship in front of her hometown fans at Twin River Casino.
As if often the case in evenly-matched title bouts, the outcome might hinge on who wants it more.
“There’s no way this girl is working harder than me,” said Vincent (8-0), who now lives and trains in Providence under the guidance of Peter Manfredo Sr. “Why wouldn’t I work hard for something I’ve wanted my whole life?”
Vincent’s shot at the title, which is the eight-round main event of “The New Era,” presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports, comes just a year and a half after her professional debut in 2011, a rapid climb even by female boxing standards. It’s also the first women’s title bout to be held in Rhode Island since Jaime Clampitt faced Belinda Laracuente for the International Women’s Boxing Federation (IWBF) lightweight title at Twin River in 2008. Vincent’s opponent, Gladney (8-7-1, 6 KOs), is a tough veteran from Columbia, S.C., who has fought for a title before, namely in 2010 when she challenged Kaliesha West for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) female bantamweight title. That fight ended in a seventh-round knockout win for West. Will Gladney’s second shot at a title end differently?
“In 2010, it just wasn’t my time,” said the 25-year-old Gladney. “I was too young, but it was an experience for me. I learn as I go. I didn’t have much amateur experience, so fighting Kaliesha West was a real learning experience. Of all the girls she’s fought, she said I was the toughest, so I’ve kept my head up and kept going.”
The one edge Gladney has entering Friday’s showdown is she has six knockout wins on her resume, whereas Vincent has yet to record a knockout, but, as Vincent pointed out, “she has a lot of losses, too, and I don’t have any of those.”
“But I respect her a lot,” Vincent added. “I know it’s going to be a tough fight. If you want to be the best, you have to start fighting the best. I’m ready. There’s nothing I’ve wanted more than this. She better be ready for a fight.”
Gladney, who considers herself a counterpuncher with “a little bit of everything” in her arsenal, credits her trainer, Dominic Neal, and promoter, Andrew Stokes, for keeping her on track. Following back-to-back losses at the end of 2012, Gladney kicked off the new year with a win over Kelan Robey in April, her final test before she faces Vincent tomorrow night.
“I really wanted to get that win,” Gladney said. “I’m really excited about this opportunity. I just want to keep fighting and stay active. I love this sport.”
Vincent was originally supposed to face Christina Ruiz of Texas, but Ruiz pulled out of the fight, citing a hand injury. Gladney accepted the challenge on just two week’s notice. The stage has now been set for Friday night in what will be a major opportunity for both Vincent and Gladney.
“When I got into boxing, this is what I dreamt about,” Vincent said. “I’m going hard on Friday night.”
“Mr. Providence” Vladine Biosse (14-2-1, 7 KOs) will also return to the ring May 17th in the eight-round super middleweight co-feature against Philadelphia’s Latif Mundy (10-5, 4 KOs). Tickets for “The New Era” are $41.00, $76.00, and $126.00 (VIP) and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at www.shop.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.
The undercard features seven bouts, most of which are regional showdowns, starting with Pawtucket, R.I., middleweight Thomas Falowo (9-1, 7 KOs) stepping up to face undefeated power-puncher Tylon Burris (5-0, 3 KOs) of Hartford, Conn., in a six-round bout. Super middleweight Rich Gingras (12-3, 8 KOs) of Attleboro, Mass., a former contestant on The Contender reality television series, will battle the red-hot Joey Gardner (11-5-1, 1 KO) of Woonsocket, R.I., in a six-round bout.
The always-busy Falowo, who’s known for throwing a high volume of punches from start to finish, will have his hands full with Burris, who has raised eyebrows in New England following an impressive knockout win over previously-unbeaten light heavyweight prospect Kevin Cobbs in November. Falowo has won his last three bouts, all by knockout, since suffering his first loss in May of 2012.
The Gingras-Gardner showdown came to fruition after Providence’s Alex Amparo was forced to withdraw from his scheduled rematch with Gardner due to a rib injury. Gardner, who has won his last three fights, will instead face Gingras, a former cruiserweight now looking to make his mark in the super middleweight division.
Also on the undercard, Boston’s Maceo Crowder (2-0, 1 KO), the half-brother of former U.S. Olympian and Providence native Demetrius Andrade, will return from a three-year absence to face Harwich, Mass., veteran Paul Gonsalves (4-3, 3 KOs) in a four-round super middleweight bout; and welterweight Jon Smith (1-0) of Cranston, R.I., will battle newcomer Oscar Diaz of Hartford, Conn., in a four-round bout. In a six-round special attraction, former Cranston amateur standout Nick DeLomba will make his professional debut against Portland, Maine native Jimmy Smith (0-0-0); the latter is returning to the ring for the first time in more than a year after his debut was cut short due to an accidental head butt. Smith and DeLomba faced one another twice as amateurs with each fighter winning once.
Hyannis, Mass., heavyweight Jesse Barboza (5-1-1, 3 KOs) will take on West New York, N.J., challenger Phillip Triantafillo (2-2, 1 KO) in a four-round bout, and Springfield, Mass., welterweight Zack Ramsey (3-0, 3 KOs) will return to face Bryan Abraham (6-16-2, 6 KOs) of Schenectady, N.Y., in a four-round bout. All fights and fighters are subject to change.