Legendary boxers James “Buddy” McGirt, Sr. and “Irish” Micky Ward began a friendship in 1986 that continues today. They will reunite May 22nd at “Rage At The River,” promoted Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment, Inc. (CES), as head trainers of fighters on that show. McGirt, 2-time world champion in two different weight classes and former Trainer of the Year, will be training his son, middleweight James McGirt, Jr. (19-2-1, 9 KOs), who’ll be making his CES debut in a 6-round bout versus an opponent to be named. Ward, a participant in three Fights of the Year, will handle his nephew, lightweight Sean Eklund (6-3, 1 KO), against Jose Guzman (3-4-1) in a four round match. “I think it’s great and I’m excited to be working the same show as Micky,” Buddy said. “He fought on my undercard in 1986, 16 years later were in opposite corners — I had (Arturo) Gatti – and now we’re together again. Micky Ward was one fighter I didn’t want to fight. I always felt that, if he wanted to, he’d be a trainer. They don’t make fighters like Micky Ward anymore. We’re good friends.”
Ward remembers beating Jesus Carlos Velez (KO6) on Buddy’s undercard (Feb. 21, 1986) in Atlantic City. “Two years later I stopped Joey Ferrell in the first round,” Micky laughed and jokingly added, “the same fighter Buddy beat by (10-round) decision on that same 1986 card. I broke his rib. I was amazed by Buddy. I was in my fifth fight and he was close to fighting for a world title. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, I want to be like him.’ I never wanted to fight him, though. Until the end of his career, he only lost to world champions, twice to the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Pernell Whitaker. Buddy’s a good guy, great fighter and trainer, and we’re friends. I’m enjoying the challenge of being a trainer but, I’m not on the same level as Buddy, who has trained a lot of world champions.”
World-rated light heavyweight Joey “KO Kid” Spina (24-1-1, 17 KOs), fighting out of Providence, headlines in an eight round fight versus veteran Tiwon Taylor (26-14-1, 19 KOs), former Carolina Boxing Association title-holder, who has been in against world champions Adrian Diaconu, Fabrice Tiozzo and Lou Del Valle. Power-punching Spina is rated No. 12 in the WBA, as well as No. 13 by the WBC and WBO.
Also on the card in separate six round bouts are EBA super middleweight champion “Irish” Joe McCreedy (10-2-1, 5 KOs) against Victor Paz (9-7-1, 1 KO) and world featherweight title challenger Sandy “Lil’ Tyson” Tsagouris (9-1, 4 KOs) versus TBA.
Supporting the show in four round matches are cruiserweight Jay Holland (1-0, 1 KO) vs. TBA, light welterweight Diego Periera (2-0, 2 KOs) vs. Pablo Tejada (2-9-1, 0 KOs) and Omar Pena (1-0-1, 0 KOs) vs. Ramon Santos (0-1). All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Tickets for “Rage At the River” are priced at limited $25.00 SRO, $35.00, $45.00 (Bronze), $65.00 (Silver), $100.00 (Gold) and limited $150.00 (Jimmy’s Platinum Club) and are available to purchase by calling CES (401.724.2253/2254), going on line at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, at Twin River’s Players Club booth at Twin River, or any TicketMaster location.
James “Buddy” McGirt (73-6-1, 48 KOs), former IBF light welterweight and WBC welterweight champion, past Boxing Writers of America Association’s Trainer of the Year, as well as “Irish” Micky Ward (38-13,27 KOs), EBU light weight champion and three time participant in Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year, will be joined by Gary “Tiger” Balletto (31-3-2, 26 KOs), former IBU lightweight champion and star of The Contender III, for a very special meet-and-greet May 22nd with “Rage At The River” show ticket holders. They will be available in the entrance area of the Twin River Event Center between 6-7 PM/ET to sign autographs, pose for pictures and talk to fans. They had a combined 142-22-3 (101 KOs) pro record.