Photos: Emily Harney
With yet another dominant performance in front of his hometown fans, Vladine Biosse proved the city of Providence still belongs to him until further notice. “Mr. Providence” (14-1-1, 7 KOs) dominated Canadian challenger Michael Walchuk (9-6), stopping his opponent after five rounds Thursday night at the Twin River Event Center for his second consecutive win and first knockout since April of 2011. Biosse punished Walchuk from the opening bell, dictating the pace of the fight, while Walchuk spent most of the night covering up trying to avoid damage. Biosse picked up the pace in the fifth, landing a series of damaging flows, forcing Walchuk’s corner to stop the fight at the end of the round.
Biosse’s win highlighted an exciting night of professional boxing, presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports, the third installment of Twin River’s Thursday Night Fight Series.
Thursday was also a successful homecoming for former world-title challenger Matt “Too Smooth” Godfrey of Providence. Fighting in front of his hometown fans for the first time in five years – and at heavyweight for the first time in his career – Godfrey (21-3, 11 KOs) made a triumphant return, stopping Bartonsville, Pa., native Jesse Oltmanns 10 seconds into the fifth round with a barrage of rights and lefts.
Godfrey dropped Oltmanns with a quick right hook in the second round and then hurt him again toward the end of the fourth. Sensing an opportunity to end the fight, Godfrey came out swinging at the start of the fifth and staggered Oltmanns with an overhand right, forcing the referee to step just 10 seconds into the round.
The six-round special attraction between super middleweights Keith Kozlin (7-3-1, 4 KOs) of West Warwick, R.I., and Reynaldo Rodriguez (6-5-1, 3 KOs) of Woonsocket, R.I., lived up to expectations as Kozlin dominated in the rematch to earn a 58-56, 60-54, 60-54 unanimous decision victory.
Kozlin established his presence from the opening bell, scoring early and often with his signature left hook, at times landing at will. Rodriguez kept moving forward, trying to work the body, but Kozlin’s defense was nearly impenetrable, and Rodriguez’s lack of head movement proved too costly to overcome. After the two fought to a draw last summer, Kozlin promised he’d train harder for the rematch and win convincingly, which he did Thursday.
After several months of taunts, both online and in person, “The Vermont Bully” Kevin Cobbs (5-0, 1 KO) answered the bell Thursday in dominant fashion, outdueling Queens’ Donte Wiggins (1-1) to earn a unanimous 39-36, 39-36, 39-36 decision. Wiggins promised a quick knockout at Wednesday’s weigh-in, but Cobbs kept his composure and wisely fought on the outside, using his reach advantage to frustrate his opponent. With Wiggins needing a knockout in the fourth and final round, Cobbs secured the win with a knockdown, catching Wiggins on the temple in the closing seconds.
Welterweight Luis Cruz of Manhattan made quick work of Providence’s Jansy Rivera in the opening bout, dropping Rivera twice en route to a first-round knockout at the 1:28 mark in the professional debut for both fighters. Rivera survived the first knockdown in the opening minute, but Cruz continued to apply the pressure and finished Rivera for good with an overhand right.
In just his second professional fight, Springfield, Mass., lightweight Zack Ramsey (2-0, 2 KOs) scored another impressive knockout, this time stopping veteran Damon Antoine (10-39-2) with 49 seconds remaining in he final round. Ramsey dominated from the opening bell, sending Antoine to the canvas in the second, third and fourth rounds before earning the stoppage in the closing seconds.
Veteran Benny “The Boss” Costantino (7-2) of Warwick, R.I., suffered another setback in his comeback attempt as hard-hitting Dennis Ogboo (7-5, 6 KOs) of Lexington, Ky., earned the stoppage at the 1:04 mark of the final round. Ogboo utilized his height advantage, keeping Costantino at bay with his stiff, right jab, but Costantino kept fighting, doing the majority of his damage on the inside.
Early in the fourth, Ogboo backed Costantino against the ropes and unloaded a series of combinations, forcing Costantino to take a knee. The referee stopped the fight when Costantino could no longer continue due to an eye injury.
Pawtucket’s Thomas Falowo (7-1, 5 KOs) avenged the first and only loss of his career in May in dominant fashion Thursday, forcing game challenger Rahman Yusubov (8-9) of Dallas to retire after the fourth round.
The always-busy Falowo dominated from start to finish, unloading on Yusubov with his typical flurry of lefts and rights. Unable to sustain any additional damage, Yusubov quit at the end of the fourth.