Ringside Report by Billy “Loops” Luppert and Scott Ploof
Photos: Ray Bailey
One would think a change of opponents 48 hours prior to fight time could have one scurrying to change game plans, especially given the different styles of the opponents. Not for Joey “KO Kid” Spina. To Spina (26-1-2, 18 KOs), it doesn’t matter who you put in front of him, his game plan is always the same. Knock him out. That plan certainly worked Saturday night at Foxwoods Resort Casino, as Spina easily dispatched last minute replacement, and former world title challenger Antwan Echols (32-15-4, 28 KOs) 49 seconds into round three. The eight bout fight card was promoted by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports.
Spina was originally slated to face fellow New-Englander, “Sucra” Ray Olivera, who would’ve been ending a five year retirement, but was not cleared medically by a doctor from the Mashantucket Athletic Commission.
Instead, Echols was brought in with hopes of upsetting the power punching Providence, RI native, who is ranked in the top 15 by two of the major sanctioning bodies, but given Echols record in his past ten bouts coming into the fight was (1-8-1), very few people gave him a chance.
Spina controlled the entire fight, and had Echols backing up from the opening bell, looking to end the night early. He almost ended it at the end of the second round, when he dropped Echols a split second left hook just after the bell rang to end the round. It was so close in fact, that the bell rang as Spina was in the middle of throwing the punch.
With Echols down and visably hurt, he was given ample time to recover from the accidental foul by referee Johnny Calis. After taking an extra minute on his stool, Echols came out for round three and Spina was intent on ending it right then and there.
After backing Echols into the corner, Spina leaned on Echols, throwing little pitter patter punches to Echols body, to set up his power punches upstairs. After Echols couldn’t defend any of the punches he was getting hit with, Referee Callis stepped in and saved Echols from anymore unnecessary punishment and waived the fight off 49 seconds into the third round.
“I really wanted to knock him out, I wanted to stop him. I hit him after the bell and that hurt him but I really wanted to knock him out. I really wanted to take him out,” said Spina after being visibly upset after the fight.
When asked if he thought the hit was late, Spina replied by saying, “I thought it was just as the bell rang, I hit him. It definitely wasn’t intentional. As I was throwing the bell rang and I connected just slightly after.”
“To be honest, I think if the fight went on any longer, I would have hurt him. I would have definitely hurt him, you could tell he was out and I was hurting him with punches that could have hurt him,” said Spina after being asked if he thought the fight should have been stopped.
When asked if he has a renewed focus on the sport, Spina replied, “Right now I am focused, it is a little different. I got very discouraged in this sport, ya know if the money isn’t right, and the fights aren’t right, and you fight for peanuts. I used to make a lot more money and it gets you disgusted. Right now I am focused, I lost 45 pounds and I felt strong and ready to fight.”
When asked if the change of opponents from “Sucra” Ray Oliveira to late sub Antwun Echols changed his game plan at all going into the fight, Spina said, “It didn’t matter who it was. The only difference was that with Ray, he would have thrown more punches. I think that I could have hurt Ray. He would have sat there and tried to throw punches with me but he is slow and old. I need a guy that is going to throw and fire hard punches at me because if you’re going to pitter-patter me with punches, I am going to knock you out.” – Billy “Loops” Luppert
Biosse Shuts Out Espinal
Providence, RI super middleweight Vladine Biosse (9-0, 4 KOs) put on a dominant performance over his opponent Ariel Espinal (8-16-3, 4 KOs) in the six round co-feature of the evening. Biosse used his speed to outwork, outmaneuver, and outland the larger Espinal. Scores of the bout were a perfect shutout for Biosse, 60-54 on all cards.
Biosse went right to work in the first round as he kept Espinal backed into the corner and unleashed several punishing hooks to the body and head of his opponent. He continued to use his speed and movement to keep Espinal on the defensive.
After being hurt by another Biosse hook in the third round, Espinal was able to counter his way out of trouble and out of the corner. Espinal had a good chin as he was able to take several flurries from Biosse and stay in the fight. Biosse continued to work the body and break Espinal down as the round came to an end.
Biosse continued to use his speed and punching power to batter Espinal in the later rounds of the fight. After landing with hooks to the body, Biosse began utilizing an uppercut which almost sent Espinal to the canvas in the fifth. He seemed to want to continue to lure Espinal into the corner where he would then unload a barrage of punches.
Espinal was able to hang in tough in the final round, and with the fight already sealed by his opponent, Biosse was content to keep a safe distance and work his jab and combinations to earn the shutout decision.
Afterwards Biosse said to the media, “It was a tough fight. He came to fight. I underestimated him a little bit yesterday when I saw his body at the weigh-in and he didn’t seem to be in good shape. I thought it was going to be a lot easier than it turned out to be. He really came forward to fight. I love keeping active and we are going to stay that way. I have to go back and visit my grandmother for a little while who raised me, but I will be back soon to fight again.” – Scott Ploof
In Other Action:
Greg McCoy (2-1-1, 1 KO) scored the first knockout of his career after landing a barrage of unanswered punches on Woonsocket, RI’s Reynaldo Rodriguez (5-2, 2 KOs). McCoy knocked Rodriguez down twice in the fight, once late in round two and again in round three. Referee Dick Flaherty stopped the fight after Rodriguez was unable to defend himself at 2:41 of round three. – Scott Ploof
New Haven, CT’s Luis Rosa Jr. (4-0, 2 KOs) outclassed Worcester, MA’s Jose Velazquez (1-7, 1 KO) over three rounds finally stopping him after a barrage of punches. Referee Johnny Callas had seen enough and stopped the bout after Velazquez was unable to defend himself after taking several unanswered punches from Rosa Jr. at 47 seconds of round three. – Scott Ploof
Super bantamweight Karen Dulin (2-6, 1 KO), fighting out of nearby Mystic, CT, won the second fight of her professional career as she won a decisive four round unanimous decision over Katarina “Kat” De La Cruz (0-5-1). All three judges scored the bout 40-36 for Dulin. – Scott Ploof
In a crowd pleasing fight, Derek Silverra (3-0, 2 KOs) recovered from a first round knockdown to stop Phillip Bernette (0-2) at 1:30 of round four of the scheduled four round welterweight fight. Both fighters stood toe to toe with one another, trading power punches, but the stronger Silveira eventually wore Bernette down and came away with the knockout victory after landing a series of hard shots that Bernette could not defend himself from. – Billy “Loops” Luppert
Edwin Soto (5-0-1, 2 KOs) remained undefeated in six fights with a four round workman-like decision over Trenton Titsworth (3-10-1, 2 KOs). Soto had a much shorter reach than Titsworth, but Titsworth could not utilize the advantage, and Soto handled him with little trouble. Scores of the bout were 40-36 twice, and 39-37. – Billy “Loops” Luppert
David Bauza went to (6-0, 3 KOs) with a four round unanimous decision over a very game Jeremy Wood (0-2). All three judges scored the bout 40-36. Bauza controlled the fight with his power punching, trying to end the fight early, but Wood showed good heart by absorbing the punishment and tried to weather a storm of his own. Bauza however, never stopped punching, and was able to land some solid hooks that snapped Wood’s head en route to the decision. – Billy “Loops” Luppert