The main event on the June 26th “Breakout” card, presented by Granite Chin Promotions, matches two New England heavyweights heading in opposite directions, Steve “The Gentle Giant” Vukosa (13-1, 5 KOs) and “Fly” Mike Marshall (5-1, 4 KOs).
The evening card of another Granite Chin day-night doubleheader (separate admissions) is headlined by the 10-round main event for the vacant NABA United States Heavyweight Championship between Vukosa (13-1, 5 KOs) who will possibly be fighting for the final time – win, lose or draw — and reigning New England heavyweight champion Marshall.
Vukosa, fighting of out Quincy, MA, is a former WBC U.S. Heavyweight Champion, which he captured in 2019 when he won an 8-round unanimous decision against Joe Cusumano (18-2, 16 KOs). During his 20-year pro boxing career, Vukosa’s gained invaluable experience sparring at the famed Wild Card Boxing gym in Los Angeles as a sparring partner for world champions James Toney, Evander Holyfield and Wladimir Klitschko. He’s also driven a bus for the past 15 years for the Mass Bay Transportation Authority, starting at 4 p.m. and finishing around 2 a.m., after which he does his run in. But he’s now 44 with a wife and three children and his boxing clock is ticking.
“I’m still fighting because I love it,” Vukosa explained. “It’s hard to walk away from something you’re good at. This one fight and it could be the end. My wife will be happy. My body is starting to fall apart: hands, back and knees. They’ve been killing me. I used to be quick and fast, now I’m slow. I just want to have a good fight, win, or lose, but I want to win. I really enjoyed by days at Wild Card, those sparring sessions were like real fights, and my amateur days with trainer Jimmy Farrell.
“I saw my opponent when he won the New England title, I was impressed. (promoter) Chris (Traietti) called asking if I’d fight him, I accepted because I like to fight and a good challenge. I’m looking forward to the fight.”
The 36-year-old Marshall, fighting out of Danbury, CT, has won his last two fights, both on Granite Chin shows at the same venue as his upcoming match with Vukosa, including his N.E. title-winning performance last November against Justin “Crazy Train” Rolfe. Marshall isn’t looking at his opponent as over the hill because of Vukosa’s advance age, but he does plan to make a statement that, hopefully, will get him positive exposure outside of New England.
“I know he’s a veteran pugilist, a pupil of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, who was an awesome fighter in his own right,” Marshall remarked. “This is boxing, anything can happen. My job is to prepare for anything. I’ve had the best quality sparring in house with the No. 1 amateur heavyweight, Fernely Felix, Jr. My team works very hard, My manger, A.J. Galante, asked me to be sharper in my last fight (3-round KO of Tracey Johnson this past April), so I did what he asked me to do. My cornerman Austin Ampeoquio keeps me sharp with the mitts, and my head coaches David McDonough and Bennie ‘The Jet’ Little do a good job pushing me as well.
“I know Steve comes to fight and I’m looking forward to an exciting night of boxing. We are two warriors going toe-to-toe in the ring, putting on a show for boxing fans who really enjoy the sport of boxing, not this YouTube celebrity garbage that’s going on right now.”
“Steve ran into some bad luck after the Cusumano win,” Granite Chin president Chris Traietti commented. “A few fights fell through, then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. We literally had a fight in Germany fall out the day we were set to leave for the airport. After that we lost a lot of the steam from the Cusamano fight and kind of had to reassess. He picked up a tune-up fight a few months ago, but we now have to either regain some momentum by winning a fight like this or finally have Steve ride off into the sunset. This fight with Marshall will be no picnic. He has burst upon the local scene with some impressive performances.
“Like many coming to the fight, I have no idea how this fight shakes out, which makes for a great main event. One thing I will say, despite what Steve like to make people believe, in the event he wins this fight, it won’t be his final fight. Zero chance of that! If Marshall wins, I have no doubt he will get a television fight in the very near future on a major network.”
In the 8-round co-featured event, former N.E. heavyweight champion Rolfe (5-2-1, 4 KOs), of Fairfield, ME, will takes on Mexican challenger Jose Humberto “Olimpico” Corral (20-26, 12 KOs) for the vacant ABF Atlantic heavyweight title.
New England welterweight champion Mike “Bad Man” Ohan, Jr. (12-1, 6 KOs), fighting out of Holbrook, MA, will defend his title in an 8-round match against upset-minded Tyrone “Hands of Stone” Luckey (13-14-4 (9 KOs).
Undefeated Holyoke, MA welterweight Denzel “Double Impact” Whitley (4-0, 3 KOs) will be in his first scheduled 6-rounder versus Anthony Andreozzi (0-1), of Swansea, MA. Indianapolis junior welterweight Dewayne Wisdom will be in his 66th pro fight against Nelson “Chino” Perez (2-0, 2 KOs) in a 6-rounder.
Also slated to be in action on the undercard, all in 4-round bouts, is Weymouth, MA welterweight Eric “Gladiator” Goff (1-0) vs. Aquilando Brandao (0-3), Holyoke junior middleweight Carlos Abel Castillo (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Jay Gregory (0-3), Woburn, MA middleweight Julien “Black Dragon” Baptiste (2-0, 2 KOs) vs. Rodrigo Almeida (2-10, 2 KOs), Framingham, MA light heavyweight Saul “Spider” Almeida (0-13-4) vs. pro-debuting Steve Sumpter, Lawrence, MA junior lightweight Kevin Rodriguez (0-1) faces Ryan Venable (2-4), undefeated Puerto Rican super middleweight Jelame Garcia (7-0, 6 KOs) vs. Larry “Slo Mo” Smith (12-47-2, 8 KOs), and Worcester’s (MA) 3-time New England Golden Gloves champion Demek “Hightower” Edmonds (1-0, 1 KO) vs. pro-debuting Wallace Nass Silva.
The pro segment of the afternoon’s Pro-Am card will be headlined by ABF Atlantic Cruiserweight Champion Yan “Wild Thing” Pellerin (11-1, 5 KOs) defending his title against Lewiston, ME challenger Cristiano Pedro, fighting out by way of Angola, in an 8-round fight.
Other pro fights, all 4-rounders, include Canadian heavyweight Alexis Barriere (1-0, 1 KO) vs. New York’s pro-debuting Andrew Nolan, Methuen (MA), light heavyweight Andrew Perez in his pro debut vs. Jesus Cintron (1-18-2), Springfield (MA) super lightweight Ian “Dinamite” Garcia (0-0-1) vs. Andy Aiello (1-4-1), of Bridgewater, MA, New York light heavyweight Scott Lampert (1-2, 1 KO) vs. Yhago Goncalves (0-3), of Portsmouth (ME) by way of Brazil, and Springfield’s pro-debuting super middleweight Laurent Humes vs.pro-debuting Philipe Martins, of Marlborough, MA.
The inaugural “Granite Chin Invitational” tournament, pitting some of the best amateur boxers in New England in the semifinals round, in the USA Boxing-sanctioned event during the afternoon portion of the day-night doubleheader. The semifinals winners will advance to the tournament’s championship final August 28th at New England Sports Center.
Some of the top N.E. amateur boxers expected to compete include 2021 USA National Championships gold medalist Arika Skoog, the 2-time N.E. Golden Gloves champion out of Newton (MA); 2-time N.E. Golden Gloves champion Tashawn Ward, a featherweight from Providence (RI); and middleweights James Maner, 2019 N.E. Golden Gloves champion from Providence, and 2-time N.E. Golden Gloves champion Mike Fontanez, of Nashua (N.H).
Tickets are on sale and are priced at $25.00 (Day Show) / $40.00 (Night Show) for general seating (unassigned). Unassigned ringside seating will be available at $35.00 per seat during the day show. The night show will offer ringside tables (assigned and seats 4) for $300.00 and are available to purchase online at www.ticketriver.com (Search: Granite Chin Invitational for the day show, Breakout for night show).
Doors open at 12:15 p.m. ET and 7:15 p.m. ET (night) with the first bouts, respectively, at 12:30 p.m. ET and 7:30 p.m. ET.
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