By Jason Marchetti at ringside
Photos: Emily Harney
In the main event of the evening, heavyweight Steve Vukosa (11-1, 4 KO’s) defeated Juiseppe Cusamano (18-3, 16 KO’s) at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island. The card was promoted by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports.
Vukosa has been inactive over the years, a 10 year layoff, followed by a 4 year layoff, but was selected to fight in ESPN’s Heavyweight Boxino Tournament in 2015. He returned to boxing this year, with cruiserweight Chris Traietti (27-4) working his corner, to defeat the regional giant, Cusamano by unanimous decision.
Vukosa, 42 landed flush shots throughout the fight while moving and feinting well for his age and activity level. Cusamano, 31, was dropped with a right hook in the 3rd and was cautious moving forward as his style normally dictates. Cusamano is very strong but does not translate it into power punches which was unable to hurt Vukosa most of the night.
The rounds were close and as the scorecards were read, a general intrigue hushed the remaining audience at Twin River. The final scores were 76-75 (twice) and 77-74, all for Vukosa.
In the co-main event, Jamaine Ortiz (12-0, 6 KO’s) peppered Romain Couture (8-2-1, 4 KO’s) for every minute of 8 straight rounds to earn himself the WBC Youth World Super Lightweight Title. Ortiz, a rising young prospect in New England has tremendously fast hands and footwork. He lands punches from every single angle and his punch volume is completely off the charts, not allowing his opponents to rest. Couture hung in tough for punishment each round, never dropping to the canvas including a brutal last round in which he continued to remain on his feet. Ortiz, 23, from Worcester, Massachusetts , has earned three solid wins this year and tonight earned an 80-72 score on all of the judges scorecards.
Ricky De Los Santos (9-0, 1 KO) earned a unanimous decision against tough, young super lightweight Yeuri Andujar (4-2, 3 KO’s). The 6 rounder featured excellent exchanges throughout – Andujar scoring on his 3 punch combinations, and De Los Santos scoring on his signature, overhand right hook. De Los Santos dropped Andujar with a hard right hand in the 6th, and again at the final bell with a short counter punch to the head. To his credit, Andujar was much tougher that the scorecards reported, 59-53 and 60-52 (twice). De Los Santos said after the bout, “I told you I didn’t want a runner, I want a fighter! Who’s next!”
‘Bling Bling’ Michael Valentin (6-0-1, 1 KO) and Lonnie Jackson, Jr. (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw in a bout that saw little action for 6 rounds at lightweight. Valentin, the fan-favorite had trouble getting inside on Jackson, who impressively used his reach to keep the faster Valentin at bay. The two were trash-talking throughout the fight and even as the scores were announced. Jackson earned 59-55 on one scorecard but two other judges had it 57-57. The styles weren’t good for either fighter to take some chances or make it interesting, so one would assume they’d pass on a rematch.
In a stunning upset, veteran Evincii Dixon (9-23-2, 4 KO’s) TKO’d Marqus Bates (7-3, 5 KO’s) at the conclusion of round 4 in a scheduled 6 rounder at welterweight. Dixon dictated pace from the opening bell and dominated the first two rounds with ease, impressively choosing his spots and earning points on the scorecards. Bates dropped his guard from time to time and Dixon made him pay. In the 3rd, Bates rallied a bit and the bout became more interesting. In the 4th, Dixon dropped Bates to the canvas with 40 seconds left, then again at the bell in which it was not clear whether the ref or the corner stopped the fight.
Elijah Peixoto (2-0, 1 KO) stalked Carlos Otero (2-1) for all four rounds in their battle at super lightweight. Peixoto’s straight right hands pushed Otero back and Otero refused to take any chances against the technically sound Cape Verdean. Peixoto, a decorated amateur, used footwork, superior head movement, and poise not usually found in younger boxers. Peixoto dropped Otero at the final bell with a left hook but the fight went to the cards, 40-35 (x3).
Junior Middleweight prospect Victor Reynoso (5-0, 5 KO’s) TKO’d Kenny Chery (2-3, 1 KO) in round 3 in a one-sided slaughter. Reynoso dropped Chery twice with solid left hooks in the 2nd round (the ref called the second knockdown a ‘push’). The bout continued but even the ringside physician was on the mat looking to give input to perhaps stop the fight. In the 3rd, Reynoso continued his domination with Chery taking brutal punishment to the head. He fell to the canvas again in the 3rd, and was stopped at the 1:23 mark by referee Eddie Claudio.
Lamont Powell (5-0, 3 KO’s) outboxed Ricardo Garcia (14-8-1, 9 KO’s) in a bout at jr. middleweight. Powell used his size and strength to get the job done with no frills. Final scores were 39-37 (twice) and 40-35 even though there were no knockdowns or fouls.
In the opening bout of the evening, Nicholas Briggs (5-0, 3 KO’s) defeated Bryan Goldsby (5-14) by unanimous decision in a 4 rounder at welterweight. The fight was a decent back and forth affair, but Briggs took control in the later rounds as Goldsby tired. In the 4th, Briggs landed a left hook and a straight right hand that backed Goldsby to the ropes, but he survived the round. Final scores were 40-35 (twice) and 39-36.