PROVIDENCE (March 18, 2005) – Although, technically-speaking, the April 1 “Homecoming” Pro-Am boxing card is named for WBC Youth middleweight champion “Bad” Chad Dawson, fighting in his hometown of New Haven for the first time, it’s also a homecoming of sorts for Joey “KO Kid” Spina, who returns to New England from his new home in Las Vegas to fight in his first co-feature event.
“Homecoming,” co-promoted by CES and Guilty Boxing, will be held at the New Haven Athletic Center.
Spina (14-0, 11 KOs), 26, left the comforts of Providence for the glitz and glitter of Las Vegas in order to develop as a pro fighter. Joey hooked up with a former Providence friend, his new manager Derrick Parent, who is a successful businessman in Las Vegas and former light heavyweight world champ Eddie Mustafa Muhammad joined Spina’s corner as head trainer.
Known strictly as a powerful puncher, Joey now demonstrates newly learned boxing skills in the ring, particularly head and foot movement, and he’s maintained his power despite dropping from light heavyweight (175 pounds) to super middleweight (168). The good-looking Italian powerhouse boxer feels that his time has arrived.
“I’m excited to come back home and fight in my first co-feature,” he said. “I’ve been working with Eddie to become a better boxer. I still do what I do best – knock people out! I’ve work hard, knock guys out, and put on a good show. This is the next step in my career and someday I want to be a world champion.”
Spina faces his toughest test April 1 in Manu Ntoh (15-9-1, 9 KOs), from Atlanta via Cameroon. Ntoh brings a lot of valuable experience in against Spina having beaten Vitali Kopotko (23-5) and Jose Spearman (21-6-2). He also has been in
“I honestly believe that Joey Spina, pound-for-pound, is one of the biggest punchers in boxing,” promoter Jimmy Burchfield offered. “Joey was one of the best as a light heavyweight and he brought that same power down to super middleweight. He’s going to be seriously challenged in his first co-feature by Ntoh. He’s very dangerous and a helluva test for Joey, but we’re confident Joey can take care of business and entertain the crowd at the same time.”
WBA rated No. 14 Dawson (16-0, 11 KOs, 1 NC), only 22-years-old, rated No. 14 by the World Boxing Council, defends his WBC Youth title against upset-minded Efrain Garcia (17-4-1, 11 KOs), of Texas, in the 10-round main event.
Also on the card are two other Providence fighters – undefeated cruiserweight Matt Godfrey (6-0, 4 KOs), the former 4-time National amateur champion, in his first six-round match versus Tony De La Garza (3-2-2, 1 KO), of Texas; 2004 U.S. Olympian Jason “Big Six” Estrada (1-0), against heavyweight Jerry Lee Simpson (2-1), of Florida, in a four round match. Former world heavyweight champion Tony “TNT” Tubbs trains Simpson.
Manchester featherweight Matt Remillard, managed by Jackie Kallen, makes his pro debut against Arlington Pandy (0-1), of Brooklyn, and Irish super middleweight Joe “Sugar” Rea (2-0, 1 KO, 1 NC), now fighting out of South Boston, will make his CES debut. All matches and fighters are subject to change.
CES also plans to present four amateur matches, one featuring New Haven’s Ring One 65-pound National Silver Mittens champion Tramaine Williams, the 12-year-old affectionately known as the “Mighty Midget.” Other Connecticut amateurs scheduled to box include New Haven’s 10-year-old Georgie Nacierio, USA rated No. 4; Manchester’s Melissa Roberts, 2005 New England Golden Gloves champion; New London’s Ricky Ledesma.
Three of New England’s all-time greatest and most popular fighters will be the first inductees into the CES Ring of Honor: Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Paz, Marlon “Magic Man” Starling and “Irish” Micky Ward.
“Homecoming” will be taped live and air on “Guilty Fight Night” (check television listings) and CN8, The Comcast Network will broadcast “Homecoming” on Saturday, April 9 at 7:00 PM/ET to 6.4 million homes from Maine to Maryland. CN8’s coverage of “Homecoming” will also be available on Comcast Digital Cable’s ‘ON DEMAND” service and online at www.cn8.tv.
“Guilty Fight Night” is shown in more than 100-million households worldwide via America One and The Urban Network in the U.S., Fox Sports International in the Middle East and portions of Africa, BEN Television in Great Britain and Ireland, and other cable outlets.
Tickets are priced at $100 (Platinum), $60 (Gold), $40 (Silver Reserved), $25 (General Admission) and $15 (high school and college students). Tickets my be purchased at the following outlets or by calling CES’ corporate headquarters (401.724.2253) or its Connecticut office (860.432.4253): Greater New Haven Convention & Visitors Office (203.777.8550), Humphrey’s East (203.782.1506), Fireside Restaurant & Bar (2-3.466.1919), Ring One Boxing Gym (203.787.1200), Manchester PAL (860.645.6261), Taino Boxing (860.645.6261), Jimmy’s Urban Clothing (203.333.3939 & 374.7172 in Bridgeport, 203.934.2900 in West Haven, 203.907.0384 in Hamden, 203.855.1799 in Norwalk, 203.323.9200 in Stamford); Sports Stuff (203.787.2293 in New Haven, 203.630.0889 in Meriden, 203.757.9126 in Waterbury. New Haven police and fire fighters receive $5.00 off any tickets they purchase.
In a show of support for Spina, Teamsters Union, Local 251 is offering free bus service from Providence to New Haven and back for “Homecoming.” Seating is limited and call Glenn Teolis at 401.253.5300. The deadline is Monday, March 28 (12 noon).
For additional information visit CES’ web site at www.cesboxing.com. Doors open at 6 pm, first bout at 7 pm. Call TransMedia Entertainment Group at 610.627.0606 or 203.288.7111 for television advertising or broadcasting opportunities.