Juiseppe Cusumano enters Friday’s fight at Twin River Casino riding an impressive, 12-fight win streak with 10 of those wins coming by knockout, including five in a row in either the first or second round.
The scary part? He hasn’t even reached his peak yet.
“I haven’t hit anybody really good yet! That’s why they all fall asleep standing up,” lamented Cusumano, who returns to the ring Friday, May 18th, 2018 to face Californian Bernardo Marquez (8-3-1, 5 KOs) in a six-round co-feature bout on the CES Boxing’s upcoming fight card.
“I haven’t shown everyone what I’ve really got yet.”
Tickets are priced at $47.00, $102.00, $127.00 (VIP) and $152.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at www.cesboxing.com, www.twinriver.com or www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 401-724-2253/2254 or at the Twin River Casino Players Club. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
The event begins with preliminary bouts at 7 p.m. ET with the main card streaming on Facebook via FIGHTNIGHT LIVE beginning at 8.
Cusumano’s confidence is at an all-time high. Why wouldn’t it be? He’s a long way from the days of poor management, depression and alcoholism derailing his promising career and is now fighting under the watchful guidance of CES Boxing president Jimmy Burchfield Sr., who has taken Cusumano (14-1, 12 KOs) under his wing and molded him into a household name in the northeast.
The 6-foot-4 heavyweight from Sicily has blazed a remarkable trail of destruction since linking up with Burchfield, culminating in his most impressive win to date, a first-round knockout in February over Fred Latham, who entered the bout 9-1-2. That was supposed to be the proverbial “test,” or “step-up fight,” as it’s more commonly known in the business, but Cusumano instead wasted no time bludgeoning Latham a non-stop flurry of shots, forcing referee Steve Smoger to stop the bout at the 2:33 mark.
While Cusumano admits he’d like to get a few competitive rounds Friday night, he’s not exactly here to make a long night of it either.
“I grew up watching Mike Tyson and Rocky Marciano,” Cusumano said. “There were some hard times I went through in my career that kept me out of the game, and I’m so excited to be back, so when I get in there I like to explode.”
Cusumano, who turned 30 on Monday, is just entering his prime and the time is now to make a run to the top in what has become a competitive, wide-open heavyweight division. It’d be easy to lament the missed opportunities due to Cusumano’s two-year layoff between 2014 and 2016, but boxing’s newest rising star is too busy working day in, day out improving his craft. Each fight is a lesson learned, and he continues to pass each test with flying colors.
“Nowadays, I’m getting in better shape, working out after each fight, and just getting better and better. I feel like I’m getting it all back from when I was in my early 20s,” Cusumano said. “Except now I’m more mature. I actually believe it was God’s plan to let me mature and grow.”
The 6-2 southpaw Marquez bounced back from a pair of losses in 2016 with wins in two of his last three fights and figures to provide more resistance than Latham, Matt McKinney, Robert Dunton or any of Cusumano’s most recent victims. Then again, the plan is to finish strong and finish early, even with the temptation to squeeze in a few much-needed rounds.
“Bernardo, he’s going to use that stiff jab, so I’m going to let him come to me,” Cusumano said. “It looks like he likes to jump into flurries, so I’m going to let him walk into a big counter and he’ll go to sleep, too. This guy is in for it.
“I’m a mind-reader,” Cusumano continued. “I like to study. I’m really good at looking at people and knowing what they’re thinking. That helps me out a lot. If you saw the fight with Matt McKinney, I used my counters. Latham, I saw when [Junior Fa] laid him out in the first round. It usually takes him two rounds to get warmed up. Did I let him get going? No, I jumped on his ass. I’m just using my mind in there.”
The film study, the technique and the conditioning is all part of Cusumano’s plan to take advantage of his new lease on life. Not many fighters get a second chance when they hit a bump in the road, but Cusumano is soaking in all the knowledge of wisdom from training and sparring partners and his coach, Marcus Luck, whom he credits as the only who believed in him when he hit rock bottom nearly three years ago.
It’s been a remarkable joyride since the hard-hitting heavyweight joined the CES Boxing dynasty in 2017 and no one has been able to stop the momentum yet. Cusumano is as confident as ever heading into what figures to be his greatest challenge May 11th at Twin River. Then again, they said that about the last opponent, too.
“I see a little weakness in Bernardo,” Cusumano said. “He’s not going to be able to trade with me because of my power and he won’t be able to push me back because of my power. What will he do? He’s going to run. But I’m good at attacking and cutting off the ring and keeping the pressure on. He’s going to fold.”
Also on the May 11th card, Rhode Island’s Rich Gingras (15-5-1, 9 KOs) fights for the first time since 2015 when he battles Atlantic City’s Antowyan Aikens (12-4-1, 1 KO) in a six-round super middleweight bout. In addition, the May 11th extravaganza features a rematch between female welterweights Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (18-4-3, 1 KO) of Marshfield, Mass., and Ontario’s Natasha Spence (8-3-2, 6 KOs), scheduled for six rounds. The two fought to a draw in December.
Undefeated super lightweight Anthony Marsella Jr. (8-0, 4 KOs) of Providence returns in his toughest to date, a six-round showdown against Arlington, Wash., native Ricardo Maldonado (8-7-1, 1 KO), and featherweight Ricky Delossantos (4-0, 1 KO) of Pawtucket, R.I., puts his undefeated record on the line against Maryland’s James Early (3-2) in a four-round bout.
Also on the main card, unbeaten Worcester, Mass., native Jamaine Ortiz (8-0, 4 KOs) faces the dangerous Tyrone Luckey (9-8-3, 7 KOs) of Neptune, N.J., in a six-round lightweight bout and regional rivals Marqus Bates (3-2, 2 KOs) of Taunton, Mass., and Mohamad Allam (3-2, 1 KO) of Holyoke, Mass., battle one another in a six-round bout.
Johnston, R.I. super lightweight Nicky DeQuattro (3-0, 1 KO) returns to Twin River to face Andy Aiello (0-1) of Bridgewater, Mass., in a four-round bout while cruiserweights Jake Paradise (0-1) of Worcester and Leandro Silva (0-1) of Sao Paolo, Brazil each search for their first career win when they face one another in a four-round preliminary bout. Derrick Whitley (3-0) of Springfield, Mass., makes his Rhode Island debut in a separate four-round welterweight bout.