After putting boxing on hold for over a year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Rhode Islanders will finally have a chance to attend a live event on Saturday, June 19 at Cranston Stadium when Classic Sports and Entertainment hosts the state’s first outdoor match in 60 years.
The news broke on Friday afternoon when CES hosted a press conference at the stadium which included President and CEO Jimmy Burchfield, as well as a few of the featured fighters and other local boxing figures.
The card will be headlined by Worcester’s Irvin Gonzalez Jr., who most recently competed on the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. card back in November.
The event will also mark the return of four-time champion Jaime “Hurricane” Clampitt, who will be stepping back in the ring after an eight-year retirement. Cranston fighter Gary Balletto III, the son of legend Gary “Tiger” Balletto, will also be making his second professional appearance after competing primarily in mixed martial arts.
“I have been doing this for a long time, and I have never been more excited for an event than this one here,” said Burchfield. “The new word in corporate America is ‘reimagining.’ That’s what we’re doing. (The fans) are drooling. People are waiting for ticket orders all over, people that we have never even heard of. For the state of Rhode Island, all of New England, the Northeast, it’s beautiful. I’m getting chills just talking about it.”
Although discussions regarding boxing’s return and a potential event in Cranston have been in the works for a few months, things came together at the last minute. The card was not finalized until late Thursday evening as CES was awaiting to receive the required permits from the city. Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins was also in attendance and was key in overcoming the last few hurdles in the process.
“This all happened so fast. We’re doing everything to get this event to happen. I just can’t believe that this is happening here in Cranston,” said “Tiger” Balletto, who worked alongside Burchfield in vouching for Cranston as a host city.
Balletto III is excited to compete at Cranston Stadium, a place he is quite familiar with thanks to years of participating in organized sports in the city.
“It’s going to be awesome, I played on this field many times. Just to have something like this in our hometown is pretty spectacular. How could I not (take part),” said Balletto III.
Clampitt was one of the top fighters in women’s boxing during her career, finishing with a record of 22-5-1 with victories over Mia St. John and Jane Couch. Upon retiring eight years ago, Clampitt took time to focus on her family and has been working at On the Ropes in Warwick, where she also serves as a trainer.
Clampitt is looking forward to returning and looks to make a statement as a 44 year old.
“I’m excited, I think I’m just at a different stage in my life. I’m obviously training differently, but I feel that age is just a number. I’ve been in the gym consistently for a long time so I am ready to get back in there. Female boxing has changed and I really want to be part of the sport again,” said Clampitt. “I’m excited to be here, this is a beautiful venue. I just think that it is good for the state. It’s good for the fighters, they’ve been sitting and waiting for this for a really long time.”
Gonzalez Jr. will be serving the main event and is the WBC Youth World Featherweight champion. Clampitt will be the co-headliner.
Filling out the rest of the card will be Balletto III, as well as Providence natives Michael Valentin, Victor Reynoso and Pawtucket’s Ricky Delossantos. There will also be an amateur card taking place prior to the main lineup. The event will be streamed on UFC Fight Pass.
For more information, visit CESFights.com or follow CES on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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