World rated light heavyweight Joey “KO Kid” Spina, former USNBC and IBF Intercontinental champion, has rededicated himself for his loyal fans as he prepares for his next fight February 6 at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Spina (23-1-1, 16 KOs), rated No. 14 by the WBO and No. 15 by the WBC, takes on Kansas veteran Matt Gockel (12-9, 7 KOs) in the 8-round main event. The veteran Gockel replaces Steve Walker. Spina, who holds victories against former world champion Carl Daniels and super middleweight contender Jesse Brinkley, has had a somewhat sputtering pro career that he’s vowed to turn around starting Feb. 6.
“I’ve been like the weather – sometimes hot, sometimes cold, dedicated and not so focused at times,” he explained. “I’m 31 with a 23-1-1 record and I don’t plan on fighting until I’m 40. I’m ready to do what I’m capable of doing in the ring. I’m going to bust my butt this year, fighting better and better fighters, and then get in position to fight for a title next year. I want a chance to fight for a world title and be considered a real contender. That’s my goal. Fans either love or hate Joey Spina, either way they love to watch me fight. I want to thank my loyal fans for supporting the ‘KO Kid’ for the past 10 years. Hearing their yells is inspiring.
“I’m sharper than I’ve ever been. I’ve been working on my balance, shifting my hips, and pressing forward with my hands up. I’m going to wear down opponents. I already have seen a difference. Throw in a slip, force my opponent to go backwards, and then put them to sleep. Gockel is coming down from cruiserweight to fight at light heavyweight; I’m going back up because I can fluctuate between 168 and 175. I’m strong at either weight. He’s not going to be able to stand in front of me. The “KO Kid” is back!”
Providence favorite Bobo “The Bull” Starnino (9-4-2, 2 KOs) faces “Irish” Joey McCreedy (9-2-1, 5 KOs), of Lowell (MA), again in a rematch of a draw they fought to last year, for the vacant Eastern Boxing Association (EBA) super middleweight title in the 8-round co-feature.
Former 4-time U.S. national amateur champion Bobby Harris will be inducted into the prestigious CES Ring of Honor during a special “February Frenzy” card ceremony. Burchfield established the CES Ring of Honor in 2005 in order to pay respect to inductees for their special achievements and contributions to New England boxing. CES Ring of Honor inductees include Rocky Marciano, Vinny Paz, Micky Ward, Marlon Starling, Jose Antonio Rivera, John Scully Ray Oliveira, Gary Balletto and Demetrius Andrade. Harris reached the 1992 U.S. Olympic Box-Offs and captured a gold medal at the 1993 National Golden Gloves Tournament. The Worcester (MA) resident went on to a 20-2-1 (13) pro record as a heavyweight and last fought in 1999.
Harris will be in the corner of his younger brother, unbeaten Worcester cruiserweight Adam “The Hitman” Harris (10-0, 7 KOs), who will fight Philadelphia boxer David Williams (5-2-1, 2 KOs) in a 6-round bout.
Undefeated Pawtucket fighter Eddie “The Puerto Rican Sensation” Soto (10-0, 4 KOs) meets another Lowell native, Sean Eklund (6-2, 1 KO), who will have his uncle and head trainer, “Irish” Micky Ward, in his corner for their 6-round bout for the EBA New England lightweight belt.
Also on the undercard in 4-round bouts are U. of Connecticut graduate Brian Macy (5-0, 2 KOs) vs. Anthony Pietrantonio (4-2, 3 KOs); Providence junior welterweight Jesus Caro (3-0, 3 KOs) vs. Olade “One Shot” Thomas (1-3, 0 KOs); W. Warwick (RI) super middleweight Keith Kozlin (2-0, 1 KO) vs. Daren Graham (1-4, 1 KO); Worcester heavyweight Rashad Minor (1-0, 1 KO) in his CES debut vs. Shawn McLean (2-4, 1 KO); Providence cruiserweight Jay Holland making his pro debut vs. Kevin Varnadore (0-4); Providence junior welterweight “Steamin’” Josh Beeman (4-2-2, 2 KOs) vs. Jamar Saunders (2-1, 1 KO).
Tickets for “February Frenzy” 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.
(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “February Frenzy.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied at all times by an adult and they must enter through the West entrance.)