The ultimate spectator sport, boxing provides fans with an adrenaline rush few sports have the ability to replicate.
No matter the venue, the combatants, or the circumstances, boxing rarely fails to deliver, but there’s something a little extra special about two undefeated fighters putting their records – and reputations – on the line.
On Thursday night at Twin River Casino Hotel, undefeated prospects Ricky Delossantos (9-0, 1 KO) of Pawtucket, RI, and 24-year-old Fort Worth, TX, native Edward Vazquez (7-0, 1 KO) risk their perfect records in a highly-anticipated featherweight showdown under promotional giant CES Boxing.
The fight is scheduled for eight rounds and marks the second year in a row CES Boxing has opened its annual Twin River Casino Fight Series with a battle of unbeatens. In 2019, it was Jamaine Ortiz and Ricardo Quiroz battling for the WBC Youth World Lightweight title. Now it’s Delossantos and Vazquez, two fighters with different backgrounds and different paths to the squared circle, except for that one common denominator – their unblemished records and the expectations that come with them.
The fight is just days away and Vazquez is brimming with confidence as he prepares for his first trip up north and what may be the biggest challenge of his young career.
“He’s going to have to kill me if he wants to beat me,” Vazquez said. “I hope you’re working your ass off, because I am. You have no idea what you’ve got coming to you.”
Tickets start at $47 and are available online at CESBoxing.com and ShowClix.com, or by phone at 401.724-2253. Doors open at 6 p.m. ET with the first bout at 6:45. The official weigh-in is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11 at 4 p.m. at the Twin River Casino Hotel Event Center, the site of Thursday’s event.
A late bloomer who didn’t make his professional debut until the age of 27, Delossantos has grown in confidence and stature with each fight. He pieced together arguably his most impressive performance in his last night, sending Yeuri Andujar to the canvas twice in the sixth and final round of their August bout en route to a decisive unanimous decision win.
“I feel like more of a veteran in that ring,” Delossantos said. “Skill-wise and confidence-wise, things continue to get better. I’ve been learning fast. Every fight is a showcase to prove myself and show my fans what I’m about and what I bring to the table.”
As for Vazquez’s style, Delossantos described his opponent as an elusive, slick boxer who “likes to move around a lot, box on the outside, and then jump in.” Will that deter Delossantos’ straight-forward approach?
“It’s nothing I haven’t seen before,” he said. “I feel like I can get him out of there by the fifth round. He won’t be able to take the pressure. He won’t be able to dance around with me that long.”
Aside from their unbeaten records, Vazquez and Delossantos couldn’t be more different. Vazquez, nicknamed “Kid,” began boxing at 8 years old, amassed an amateur record of 82-8 and advanced to the Junior Olympic semifinals before launching his pro career in 2016 under the guidance of Roy Jones Jr. Promotions. He recently upended previously unbeaten California prospect Brandon Cruz by split decision.
Delossantos admits he got into a light of fights while starring as a two-sport athlete at Pawtucket’s Tolman High School. He took up boxing to put his aggression toward a more worthwhile cause and keep himself out of trouble. Under the guidance of lifelong trainer Orlondo Valles, he enjoyed a brief amateur career before turning pro in 2017 with a win over fellow debut fighter and New England rival Philip Davis.
The stage has been set for what should be another epic CES Boxing showcase Thursday night at Twin River. There’s not much more to be said until that first bell rings. It may be the last time either fighter can claim to be undefeated.
“I believe I’m the smarter fighter,” Vazquez said. “I’m the more experienced fighter. I’m the better fighter. I’m a hard worker. The thrill of stepping into that ring and competing at the highest level is what drives me every day.”
Added Delossantos: “That record doesn’t mean anything until you’re in the ring with someone who can match you punch for punch. I’ve looked at some of the video to study his style, but that changes once you’re in the ring. He’s going to have to adjust to what I’m doing.”
Thursday’s event also features the return of Providence native Toka Kahn Clary (27-2, 18 KOs) in an eight-round super featherweight main event bout against Mexican challenger Dennis Contreras (21-10-1, 19 KOs). In perhaps another showstopper, Massachusetts rivals Ray Oliveira Jr. (8-3, 1 KO) of New Bedford and Springfield’s Derrick Whitley Jr. (6-1-1) face one another in a special six-round welterweight attraction.
Another fight threatening to steal the show is a six-round welterweight battle between Marqus Bates (7-3, 5 KOs) of Taunton, MA and crafty Culpeper, VA, vet Roque Zapata, who returns to Twin River following a back-and-forth showdown with Bates’ stablemate Victor Reynoso in November. Unbeaten Providence super welterweight Lamont Powell (5-0, 1 KO) returns in a six-round bout against Mexican challenger Carlos Huerta (6-5-2, 3 KOs) and fellow 154-pounder Anthony Concepcion (4-0-1, 4 KOs) of Providence puts his unbeaten record on the line in a four-round bout against 11-fight vet Martez Jackson (4-4-3, 2 KOs) of Valdosta, GA.
Next Thursday’s card also features the professional debut of Pawtucket super middleweight Hassler Chacon in a four-round bout against Brazilian Raush Manfio of Florida in addition to the return of East Providence, RI, native and decorated amateur Elijah Peixoto (2-0, 1 KO) in his third professional bout as he faces Philadelphia native Zaymar Brothers (0-1-1) in a four-round super lightweight bout. The 24-year-old Peixoto won four Southern New England Golden Gloves titles as an amateur and amassed an impressive 119-27 record that also included a trip to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers.