PROVIDENCE, R.I. – As promised, Rich Gingras left no doubt in his second attempt at a regional title.
Facing the savvy veteran Jaime Velazquez of Central Falls, R.I., Friday in the main event of CES Boxing’s “Unstoppable” professional boxing card at Twin River Casino, Gingras captured the vacant New England Light Heavyweight Title via fourth-round knockout, sending Velazquez crashing to the canvas with an overhand right at the 1-minute, 41-second mark.
For Gingras (14-4-1, 9 KOs), it was sweet redemption after fighting to a draw against Providence’s Vladine Biosse last summer for the N.E. Super Middleweight Title. In the weeks leading up to the fight, Gingras promised to bring the belt home and not leave the decision in someone else’s hands.
After three hard-fought, back-and-forth rounds, Gingras finished Velazquez for good with back-to-back overhand rights, the second catching Velazquez flush on the temple. Velazquez got off to a good start, landing uppercuts at will until Gingras readjusted his footwork and tightened up his defense. From there, it was all Gingras, who proved to be the stronger, more aggressive fighter in the end.
Velazquez has now lost back-to-back fights since returning to boxing in February while Gingras won for the first time since May of 2013 when he beat Rhode Island’s Joe Gardner.
In the middleweight co-feature, Thomas Falowo (12-2, 8 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I., made quick work of 24-fight veteran Jose Ramirez (11-14) of Albuquerque, N.M., stopping Ramirez with a right cross to the chin at the 1:51 mark of the opening round. Ramirez let his guard down as he moved forward and Falowo simply caught him while on his back foot, sending Ramirez crashing to the canvas. Ramirez tried to get up, but lost his balance on the way up and did not beat the count, resulting in a knockout for Falowo.
Since losing to Chris Chatman in July, Falowo has now won back-to-back fights, including a disqualification win over Jaison Palomeque in February.
Six days after fighting on the amateur portion of a CES pro-am card in Connecticut, promising Worcester, Mass., middleweight Khiary Gray-Pitts (1-0, 1 KO) made his long-awaited professional debut Friday, stopping well-traveled veteran On’rey Towns (0-5) in the third round of their scheduled four-round bout.
Pitts’ speed was too much for Towns to handle, and once Pitts established his footwork and began to cut off the ring, he finished Towns for good with a hard left hook just 27 seconds into the third round. A former New England Golden Gloves champion, Pitts finished his amateur career last weekend with a win over Ray Oliveira Jr.
Heavyweight Donnie Palmer (5-0-1, 5 KOs) kept his perfect record intact in the opening bout, stopping Kansas City’s John Orr (1-4) at the 2:06 mark of the second round. Facing a taller opponent, Orr did his best to fight on the inside, but the 6-foot-10 Palmer kept his opponent at bay with short, effective punches and eventually landed the finishing blow with an overhand right, sending Orr tumbling to the canvas after a back-and-forth opening round.
Fighting for the second time in six days, Willimantic, Conn., light heavyweight Kevin Cobbs (9-1, 3 KOs) stopped savvy veteran Borngod Washington (3-15) of Queens in the second round of their scheduled four-round bout. Though Cobbs dominated the opening round, Washington came out strong in the second until Cobbs caught him on the temple with a short, left cross, sending Washington to the canvas. Washington made it to his feet, but referee Joey Lupino stopped the fight at the 2:28 mark, Cobbs’ second win of the year and third consecutive win dating back to 2013.
Hyannis, Mass., heavyweight Jesse Barboza (9-1-1) returned to Twin River on Friday and won a hard-fought, 39-37, 39-37, 40-36 unanimous decision over Forrest City, Ark., veteran Jamal Woods (4-12-3) in a fight much closer than the scores indicated. For the first time in his career, Barboza wasn’t the tallest fighter in the ring, so it took him a round to adjust to Woods’ 6-foot-3 frame. Once he did, he began working the body effectively, but Woods fought back and closed the gap with a strong third round. Heeding the advice of his trainer, Jeff Gonsalves, who told him to empty the tank in the final round, Barboza dominated the final three minutes to put the finishing touches on his fourth consecutive win and his fifth in his last six fights.