Veteran super middleweight Rich Gingras (13-3, 8 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I., will challenge Providence’s own Vladine Biosse (15-2-1, 7 KOs) for the New England super middleweight title this Saturday at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI. The eight-round super middleweight showdown between Biosse and Gingras is the main event of “Game On” which is presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports.
Popular middleweight prospect Thomas Falowo (10-1, 7 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I., could steal the show in the eight-round co-feature when he faces hard-hitting southpaw Chris Chatman (10-2-1, 5 KOs) of Jersey City, N.J.
“This could be a main event on any other card,” Burchfield said. “I applaud both fighters for stepping to the table and challenging themselves. These are the kind of fights that matter, and these are the kind of fights fight fans want to see.”
The undercard also features the professional debut of highly-touted Groton, Conn., female bantamweight Marcia Agripino, who will face Brooklyn’s Vanessa Greco (1-2-3). Providence super middleweight KJ Harrison-Lombardi (1-0) will make his Twin River debut against Boston’s Maceo Crowder (2-1) in a four-round bout. “Game On” will also feature the professional debut of Hartford light middleweight “Jabbin’” Joe Wilson Jr., who will battle Saul Almeida (0-2) of Framingham, Mass., in a four-round bout.
As if the clash between Biosse and Gringas itself wasn’t exciting enough, Gingras has upped the ante by seeking the tutelage of Biosse’s former trainer, Orlondo Valles, whom Biosse parted ways with in February to work with Paul Andrade, the father of unbeaten light middleweight prospect Demetrius Andrade. Both sides insist there’s no bad blood between them, and Biosse has even gone as far as to credit Valles for getting his career off the ground, but it’s become increasingly clear there will when the camps meet face-to-face for the first time. It’s not just Biosse’s title on the line; there’s pride at stake, too.
“For Orlondo to do that, it’s a little slick, but it’s whatever,” Biosse said of Valles training Gingras. “Everyone needs to make a name for themselves in this game.”
Gingras has embraced the underdog role as he prepares: “He’s the champion. He holds the title. He has all the pressure. No one expects me to win,” Gingras said – but working with Valles might level the playing field.
“I’ve come to a point in my career where I don’t have a lot of time left, and I knew [Biosse] had left Orlondo. I was actually thinking about Orlondo a couple of months ago. I’ve known him for years. He was kind of my go-to guy when I had a question about an opponent. I would call him up because I knew he’d give me an honest answer. When I found out [Biosse] left him, it made perfect sense.
“He’s an up-and-coming trainer. I don’t think he gets the recognition he deserves because he’s under the shadow of the Manfredos and other trainers in the area, but he’s definitely a great trainer.”
With or without Valles, Biosse has moved on and is now preparing for his second fight under Andrade’s tutelage. The first was an impressive, unanimous-decision win over Philadelphia veteran Latif Mundy in May in which Biosse controlled the fight from start to finish. He recently returned from a two-week trip to Oakland, Calif., where he trained with super middleweight world champion Andre Ward at King’s Boxing Gym along with former welterweight world champion Andre Berto and unbeaten super middleweight prospect Brendan Gonzales of Sacramento.
“Boxing is not just physical; being able to talk to some of these fighters in addition to training with them and seeing how they handle things takes my understanding of the game to the next level,” Biosse said. “They’ve opened their arms to me, not just with boxing, but with strength and conditioning, road work, track workouts – it’s been great.”
The chance to defend his title for a fourth time since winning it in 2010 and remain New England’s #1 fighter in the super middleweight division is enough motivation for Biosse to put his best foot forward against Gingras.
“I’m a competitor. That’s my nature,” Biosse said. “Of course I want to be that top guy.
“Rich is tough. I know what kind of work he puts in. Outside of boxing, I know a lot about his character and the kind of person he is, but this is part of the business. Sometimes I wish to not get involved with certain people because of friendships, but it’s a business and you’ve got to take this business for what it is and do what you’ve got to do.”
Gingras’ motivation is simple; in addition to fighting for Biosse’s coveted title, he will finally achieve his goal of raising his game to the next level against elite competition.
“I’ve got nothing to lose,” said Gingras. “Win or lose, I’m going to gain more fans after this fight because of the way I fight, and, trust me, I’m going to bring it. I can only go above where I am right now just from this fight alone. He’s got all the pressure. I’m just going to go in there like a maniac. Even if he can outbox me, I’m a dangerous son of a [gun]. It doesn’t matter what skill level there is. I’m a puncher and I have great conditioning. I was ready for 12 rounds in my last fight, and I’m going to be in better shape this time.
“The trainers are probably going to be more emotionally involved than the fighters,” Gingras said with a laugh. “I know Orlondo’s loud and I know Andrade has a big mouth, too. The weigh-in is going to be interesting. I can guarantee that.”
Coincidentally, “Game On” will be the first sporting event at Twin River since the casino introduced live table games at the beginning of June.
Tickets for “Game On” are $41, $76 and $126 (VIP) and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at www.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.
Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “Game On.” Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must enter through the West entrance.
On Saturday, July 27th, Classic Entertainment & Sports will induct former standout boxer Jarrod Tillinghast of Providence, R.I., into its prestigious Ring Of Honor. Tillinghast, who finished 9-0 with three knockouts as a professional in the light heavyweight division between 1996 and 2007, will join a list of inductees that also includes former boxers Marlon Starling, Vinny Paz, “Irish” Micky Ward, Rocky Marciano, “Iceman” John Scully, Gary “Tiger” Balletto and more.