By Loren Goodman at ringside
Courtesy of Jimmy Burchfield’s CES Boxing promotions, fans at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island were treated to a full card of action-packed bouts, complete with special guest interviews, prayer for the hospitalized, and a U.S. Navy Honor Guard. In the main event—an all-out war—local champion Vladine Biosse (15-2-1, 7 KO) retained his New England Super Middleweight Title with a hard-fought eight round majority draw against former Contender participant Rich Gingras (13-3, 8 KO).
The supremely conditioned Biosse fought out of a compact southpaw stance, rocking Gingras early on with a stealthy straight left. The initially aggressive Gingras then fought tentatively, until coming back with a solid lead right of his own. Both fighters spent the remainder of round gauging distance and each other’s reflexes. At the beginning of round two, Biosse connected with the sharper, straighter punches, including a cobra-like lead left. The tide quickly shifted when Gingras landed a straight right-left hook combination, buckling Biosse’s legs. Gingras, who followed up with a right uppercut to the head, backed Biosse into the ropes. Biosse appeared to be in danger as Gingras bombarded him with a series of ponderous blows. The battle continued to heat up in round three, as Biosse bounced back with a right hook-straight left combination, then pushed Gingras through the ropes. Once righted, the Contender alumnus returned fire with a left hook-right uppercut combo. After being bulled into a corner by Biosse, Gingras resumed stalking him, missing with a wild right swing. Even though Biosse continued to land his straight left, Gingras’ edge in hand-speed was evident, and he backed up Biosse near the end of the round with a thudding right uppercut to the body. Gingras rushed out of his corner in round four, pushing Biosse all over the ring. In lumberjack mode, a series of Gingras chopping right hands to the head and body forced Biosse to the ropes, where he returned fire with right and left uppercuts, followed by a counter left uppercut to the head, turning the tables on Gingras and forcing him to the ropes by the end of the round. Gingras began each round rushing off his stool to engage Biosse. Throughout round five, he applied cool and constant pressure, weaving and rolling his way in and pinning Biosse to the ropes, where he would launch massive right and left hooks. The durable Biosse fought back furiously, and the two traded uppercuts at close quarters, the bell to end the round barely audible over the roar of the crowd. In round six, Biosse’s corner urged their fighter, noticeably swelling under both eyes, to move and box, while Gingras measured him along the ropes, looking to land big shots. After being examined by the ringside physician in between rounds, Biosse started round seven with renewed vigor, landing two compact lefts. With his back to the ropes, Gingras exploded with one of the most impressive punches of the fight, a counter right uppercut to the chin of the onrushing Biosse, his snapped-back head haloed in a cloud of mist. Biosse continued to move forward, and both fighters went toe-to-toe inside until the end of round seven. In the final round, both warriors circled strategically, feinting and looking for openings. As Gingras launched into attack mode, Biosse—looking the sharper of the two—stung Gingras with a clean no-motion lead left to the chin. Gingras emerged from the ensuing brutal exchange with a cut over his right eye. Undeterred, the former Contender participant again pinned the champion to the ropes, landing left-right-left haymakers, and punctuating the end of the bout with one more huge overhand right.
Gingras’ fans were disappointed, as he was initially announced as the winner and new champion by majority decision (76-76, 77-76, 77-75). Several minutes later, the ring announcer indicated that the judges’ scorecards had been miscalculated, with the result a majority draw (76-76, 76-76, 77-75 for Gingras). The champion Biosse is now 15-2-2 (7 KO). Gingras, who deserves another shot at the title, registers his first draw for a record of 13-3-1 (8 KO).
In between bouts, the fans enjoyed interviews from ring center with 140 pound contender Hammerin’ Hank Lundy, who had driven in from Philadelphia to his “second home,” of Providence, and Edwin “La Bamba” Rodriguez. Both contenders vowed to become world champions in the near future. All those in attendance also celebrated and honored former CES Boxing prospect Jarrod Tillinghast, whose promising pro boxing career was cut short by an automobile accident. Tillinghast delivered an inspiring message to the audience while holding his young son, his wife at his side. The sense of family, care and humanity was palpable in the arena as Promoter Jimmy Burchfield also called for two minutes of silent prayer for another CES boxer, Gary Balletto, who is currently hospitalized.
The electric semifinal pitted Pawtucket’s own Thomas “The Soulja” Falowo (10-1, 7 KO) against Jersey City native Chris “The Last Chapter” Chatman (10-2-1, 5 KO) in an intriguing eight round bout at middleweight. The image of the elongated, poker-faced Falowo juxtaposed with the muscular, shaven-pated southpaw Chatman sent echoes of Hagler—Hearns through the arena, and the two combatants did not disappoint. Always in motion, Chatman got Falowo’s attention early on with a lead right uppercut to the face. Falowo, a cool punching machine, pursued his shorter mobile opponent around the ring, delivering sharp one-twos to his crouching head. In round two, Chatman switched briefly to orthodox. This did not appear to bother Falowo, who rocked Chatman with a right-left combination. Absorbing a sizzling overhand left from Chatman, Falowo took the starch out of him with two clean shots to the chin. After staggering back to his corner with a cut on the top of his head at the end of rounder two, Chatman—a perpetual motion puncher—quickly recovered in round three, seizing the momentum and rocking Falowo with straight and overhand lefts from the southpaw stance. The most exciting round of the night, round four, began with Chatman landing straight left to body-right hook to head combinations. Falowo attempted to retaliate with multiple one-twos, but had difficulty reaching his low-ducking and weaving target. Just when Falowo began to look mechanical, Chatman made the mistake of breaking eye-contact while ducking, and Falowo stuck with a lightning bolt of a right hand to the cranium, knocking Chatman down to one knee. Moments later, on unsteady legs, Chatman slung an arcing overhand left, catching Falowo high on the temple. In a delayed reaction, Falowo—who had been hit by plenty of Chatman’s heavy blows and showed no sign of distress—staggered backward across half the length of the ring, collapsing by the ropes. Chatman controlled rounds five and six, finding success with a right uppercut to the body-left to the head combo and rapid-fire one-twos from an orthodox stance. At one point in round six, Falowo went down, but the referee ruled it a slip. Countering the switch-hitting Chatman, Falowo found his stride again in round seven, punishing his opponent with blistering uppercuts and right hooks. Chatman was clearly in trouble, grappling and clinching to last through the round. In the final stanza, Falowo got his second wind, connecting with his signature one-twos and jab- right uppercut combinations. This time, Chatman slipped down. Hurt by a one-two, Chatman again held on for dear life. As Falowo attempted to close the show, the weary Chatman showed heart by firing back, albeit with arm punches. In a dynamic ending, Falowo had Chatman hanging on with right crosses and right uppercuts. In the end, Chatman’s ring savvy and intelligence proved too much for Falowo, as he won by scores of 77-75 on all three judges’ scorecards. It would be inaccurate to call the win a gift, but Chatman certainly relished this close points win in enemy territory on his birthday. Interviewed by Promoter Jimmy Burchfield to a chorus of loud boos, the gracious and articulate Chatman won over the crowd as he reluctantly agreed to meet Falowo in a rematch. “The Last Chapter” Chatman rises to 11-2-1, (5 KO). Falowo drops to 10-2 (7 KO).
In a six-round super middleweight battle, Joe Gardner (11-6-1, 1 KO) of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, who had previously lost to main eventer Gingras, faced late replacement Russell “The Haitian Sensation” Lamour Jr. (4-0, 2 KO), of Portland, Maine. Slick punching Lamour, having won his most recent bout by first round knockout only nine days earlier, battered Gardner’s face red with rapid jabs and hooks in round one. Gardner’s frustration was clearly painted on his face, as he could not figure out how to get past Lamour’s lengthy punches and fast hands. After exchanging rabbit punches and being cut around the right eye in round two, Lamour upped the pace, controlling Gardner with snapping jabs and combinations to the head and body, dropping him in the neutral corner at the end of the round with a left uppercut, right cross combination. Hurt earlier in the round by a Lamour left to the body, the battered and bruised Gardner wilted to the canvas, but was given respite by the bell. Gardner, who stood between rounds, came out boxing and moving in round four, landing a picture-perfect left hook. After being warned for head butts, Gardner connected with a thudding right to the body, but could only touch Lamour with single shots. In only his fifth professional bout, the impressive Lamour regained control and hurt the game Gardner again on the ropes with a left hook, right cross, then sent him to the canvas again at the end of the round in the same neutral corner with a right-left combo. Both fighters complained after clashing heads in round five, Gardner emerging with a cut on his forehead. For the third time, Lamour dropped Gardner at the end of the round with a left hook-right hand combo. The lionhearted Gardner rose at the count of eight. Round six opened with a furious exchange of punches. Caught flush on the ropes by a Lamour left uppercut, Gardner bent forward to escape further punishment, and Lamour whipped in two piston-like right hands and a left hook, prompting referee Joey Lupino to intervene at 0:38 of the final round for a well-timed stoppage. The undefeated Russell Lamour Jr., a prospect to watch, rises to 5-0 (3 KO). Joe Gardner drops to 11-7-1 (1 KO).
In a four round Super Middleweight bout, local favorite KJ Harrison-Lombardi (1-0) of Providence, Rhode Island met Maceo Crowder (2-1, 1 KO), of Roxbury, Massachusetts. Harrison-Lombardi—sporting a Mohican and matching day-glo yellow and silver trunks and shoes—wasted no time, attacking Crowder from the opening bell. Crowder, coming off a three-year layoff, held his own as the two fiercely exchanged jabs. Inspired by strong support from the crowd, the aggressive Harrison-Lombardi leaped in at Crowder over and over, landing left hooks and wide rights to the body. The calm, well-schooled Crowder was able to stave off many Harrison-Lombardi’s rushes with quick foot movement, clever feints and parries. In the end Crowder succumbed to his opponent’s energetic attacks, failing to mount an offensive of his own, the judges scoring it 39-37, 40-36, 40-36 for Harrison-Lombardi, who rises to 2-0. Crowder, who would benefit from more activity, falls to 2-2 (1 KO).
Making his pro debut, southpaw “Jabbin’” Joe Wilson of Hartford, Connecticut, faced-off against Saul “The Spider” Almeida (0-2) of Framingham, Massachusetts. Wilson connected first with a slapping right hook to the body, while the lanky and unorthodox Almeida—who had been announced as a “highly regarded MMA fighter,” swung and missed with several ill-advised lead right uppercuts. Wilson found his range and stunned Almeida twice with right hooks to the head. Gaining confidence throughout, Wilson landed several well-timed jabs and combinations. The mobile and durable Almeida, working a swayback defense, became more aggressive each time he was hit, moving forward to land a couple decent straight rights to the body. Wilson made a positive impression with his outside movement and volume of clean hits, winning 40-36 on all three judges’ scorecards.
In the opening contest, debuting local favorite Marcia Agripino, boxing out of Manfredo’s Boxing and Fitness gym in Groton, Connecticut, squared off against Vanessa Greco (1-2-2) of Brooklyn, New York in a four round female bantamweight encounter. It looked like it might be an early night for Agripino, as she came out behind a fast double jab, dropping the Greco, the Brooklyn native, with a solid straight right off the jab early in round one. However, Greco proved a durable and elusive opponent, employing head movement and a strong guard to slip and block, avoiding the brunt of Agripino’s subsequent attacks. Agripino, who was more effective from a distance, continued to pump in her double jabs and speedy, two-fisted combinations, often catching Greco in the corner or up against the ropes. Agripino went for the knockout in rounds three and four, but the more experienced, tough Greco—forced on the defensive— withstood her attacks and was able to land a few nice counter shots of her own. Both fighters slugged it out in the corner to the final bell for an exciting finish, with the crowd-pleasing, technically astute Agripino winning by scores of 39-36, 40-35, 40-35.
Promoter: Jimmy Burchfield (CES Promotions).
Venue: Twin Rivers Casino Event Center, Lincoln, Rhode Island.