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70-Something Boxing Promoter Jimmy Burchfield is Still Punching…..Literally!

Arne K. Lang

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Burchfield

Brendan Barrett, who currently hangs his hat in Los Angeles, took a lot of punches this past Saturday at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Most of the those punches were delivered by his opponent, Joe Cusumano, but the event’s promoter, Jimmy Burchfield, got in a few licks as did Burchfield’s associate, Richard Cappiello.

Burchfield, now commonly addressed as Jimmy Burchfield Sr., is 78 years old according to some sources, but he claims to be 73. Cappiello is just a kid by comparison, 55. They were both arrested on misdemeanor battery charges and will be arraigned on March 11.

The Barrett-Cusumano bout, a heavyweight match slated for eight rounds, was a feisty affair. There were six knockdowns in all, four by Cusumano, and a WWE-style incident that probably should have resulted in a disqualification.

Brendan Barrett is 37 years old, but like many young boxers entering the sport today, he’s versatile. A noted high school wrestler in his native New Jersey, he also competes in MMA.

In the fifth round, as the two were yoked together in a clinch, Barrett lost his composure and seemingly forgot what sport he was competing in. He picked up Cusumano and threw him out of the ring. Cusumano landed on a table used by ring officials.

Cusumano hails from Virginia, but he was the house fighter. This was his sixth appearance at the Twin River Event Center.

Referee Shada Murdaugh, imported from New York (Hall of Fame referee Steve Smoger was also in attendance, working as a judge) let the fight continue but had seen enough and stopped the bout without a count when Cusumano knocked Barrett to the canvas for the fourth time near the end of round seven.

Barrett, who had complained of Cusumano’s roughhouse tactics as early as the second round, thought the stoppage was premature and let loose a torrent of invective. That wasn’t very smart. Now there was scant chance that he could get back to his dressing room unmolested.

The first person to confront him was Jimmy Burchfield Sr. According to WPRI.com news reporter Bill Tomison, Burchfield “swung at Barrett three times with his closed fist, striking him twice in the face. Richard Cappiello also struck Barrett, before losing his balance and falling off the ring’s platform.” Police arrested a third man on a charge of disorderly conduct, but this was considered a separate incident.

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Jimmy Burchfield, born and raised in North Providence, Rhode Island, first got involved in boxing as a judge. He worked the New England circuit before graduating to bigger fights in far-flung places. He promoted his first fight on June 12, 1992, at an amusement park in neighboring Warwick. The headliner was Ray Oliveira, a junior welterweight from New Bedford, Massachusetts, who would go on to engage in several world title fights.

Burchfield, who went on to become New England’s most active promoter, recalls that he lost $28,000 on the show. He was far more successful in the restaurant business. The fondly remembered Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Restaurant and Lounge was the “in place” in North Providence. Burchfield was the proprietor and also the head chef. His mother was Italian and the fare reflected her influence.

Hooked on boxing, Burchfield would eventually found a promotional company, Classic Entertainment and Sports. His son, Jimmy Burchfield Jr, holds the title of Vice President and Director of Legal Affairs. CES played a prominent role in the career of Vinny Pazienza.

Burchfield, who was never too proud to carry a spit bucket – one of his jobs as a young man was unloading freight cars – has been credited with keeping boxing alive in New England. “(He is) the last remnant of an old world of fight nights, ring girls and the smoke that hung over the ring in those gyms as if symbols of lost dreams,” wrote Bill Reynolds in the Providence Journal.

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Juiseppe “Joe” Cusumano, nicknamed the Sicilian Sandman, improved to 18-2 with his win over Brendan Barrett. Thirteen of his 16 knockouts have come in the first two rounds. However, it’s too soon to say that he has the potential to shake the label of a club fighter. His most notable opponent to date is Fred Latham and Latham isn’t a boxer whose name will ring many bells. Standing six-foot-four and customarily weighing about 235 pounds, Cusumano, 31, had a five-inch height advantage over Barrett, a rough customer but a heavyweight with physical limitations.

According to an article by Matt Bell in the Danville (VA) Register & Bee, Cusumano was undefeated as an amateur before turning pro where “deceptive management leeched Cusumano of much of his money.” There’s a gap in his professional boxing timeline – he was inactive from October of 2014 to October of 2016 – and during this break, says Bell, Cusumano became a heavy drinker. He cleaned up his act when Jimmy Burchfield took control of his ring affairs. Burchfield saw enough potential in him to tender him a five-year contract.

Burchfield had his back, so to speak, this past Friday in Lincoln, Rhode Island. But we would advise the septuagenarian promoter to henceforth let his fighters do all the punching. For one thing, fisticuffing at his age isn’t good for the ticker.

Having said that, we sheepishly confess that we admire his spunk.

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Jonathan Esquivel Remains Unbeaten and Raquel Miller Wins NABF Title

David A. Avila

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HAWAIIAN GARDENS, Calif.-Undefeated Jonathan Esquivel attracted a large and lively crowd and they weren’t disappointed in his knockout win over Tavoris Teague on Saturday.

Esquivel (10-0, 9 KOs) showed the large contingent of fans that sold out the Hawaiian Gardens Casino that the tricky Teague (6-27-4) could not compete for four full rounds in their super middleweight clash.

The fight ended at 2:11 of the fourth when Teague was overwhelmed by Esquivel but remained standing up as referee Zachary Young ended the fight.

Esquivel, who lives in nearby Santa Ana, California, brought more than 200 fans and they saw him struggle a bit with Teague, but after two flat rounds, the southpaw began finding the range and unleashed a barrage of punches that Teague could not avoid. The end came suddenly but the Orange County fighter remains with an unblemished record.

NABF Female Title

Female middleweight contenders headed the main event and former Olympic alternate Raquel “Pretty Beast” Miller (9-0, 4 KOs) showed her professional game is intact with a knockout win over veteran Erin Toughill (7-5-1) to win the vacant NABF middleweight title.

Miller didn’t waste time and knocked Toughill down in the first exchange with a short right cross that dropped the veteran fighter who had nearly toppled middleweight contender Maricela Cornejo in her last ring appearance.

Speed was her greatest asset and Miller used it to full advantage as she jabbed her way through Toughill’s guard and landed quick three-punch combinations. For the first three rounds Miller was in full control.

Around the fourth round Miller seemed in cruise mode when Toughill rammed several rights against her foe and followed up with more right crosses. All seemed to land flush and Miller was moved backwards with the blows. Though Toughill did not land more punches than Miller, the solid blows were enough to win her first round.

In the fifth round Toughill seemed confident that she had discovered the remedy for Miller’s speedy punches and kept ramming rights through the guard. Again Toughill seemed to be able to land the more effective blows, but though they landed they didn’t seem to hurt Miller, but rather perplexed her.

Miller seemed more intent to reverse the momentum and launched a quick solid three-punch combination on Toughill who seemed surprised by the blows. After absorbing a Miller right Toughill retaliated with a left hook and another left hook. The change of pace seemed to keep Miller off balance but toward the end of the sixth round a screaming left jab connected followed by a solid one-two combination. Miller had quickly regained the momentum.

The seventh round saw both fighters race toward each other with Miller connecting with a lead right that snapped Toughill’s head back. Miller followed up quickly with a snapping jab, jab and left hook that caught Toughill perfectly and dropped her immediately to the floor. She beat the count but when referee Zachary Young asked her to put her hands up:

“She gave me a strange look and I had to end it,” said Young of Toughill’s response.

When asked what punch caused the knockout Miller was unsure.

“I don’t remember what punch I used, I’m just excited to win the title,” said Miller who won by knockout at 1:01 of the seventh round.

Miller wins the NABF middleweight title and becomes an automatic contender for the WBC version of the middleweight world title. Claressa Shields is the undisputed middleweight world champion and holds the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO world titles.

“I’m all about smooth boxing but I can bang if I have to,” said Miller.

Yes she can.

Other Bout

Super middleweights Kenny Quach (0-1-1) and Johnny Cisneros (0-0-1) ended in a draw after four closely fought rounds. Cisneros fights out of Riverside and was making his pro debut. Quach fights out of Santa Ana, Calif.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Fast Results from Brooklyn: Wilder Knocks Out Breazeale

Arne K. Lang

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Wilder Knocks Out Breazeale

Deontay Wilder vs. Dominic Breazeale figures to be entertaining for as long as it lasts said one pundit and he could not have been more prescient. Entertaining it was although if you were distracted you likely missed it. It was all over in 137 seconds

Wilder, making the ninth defense of his WBC world heavyweight title, stunned Breazeale with a big right hand early in the contest but then walked into a wild right hand by Breazeale and was himself momentarily stunned. He had enough presence of mind, however, to keep his cannon of a right hand unholstered and a few moments later he unleashed it again, leaving poor Breazeale flat on his back. Breazeale made it to his feet, seemingly as referee Harvey Dock reached the count of “10,” but he was in dire straits and the bout was waived it off.

This was the same Dominic Breazeale who lasted into the seventh round with Anthony Joshua not quite two years ago. As for Wilder, he remains undefeated with his 40th knockout in 42 pro starts and a match between him and Joshua or a rematch with Tyson Fury looms bigger than ever.

Co-Feature

WBC world featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. successfully defended his title and completed the hat trick for the Russell Brothers with a fifth round stoppage of Spain’s Kiko Martinez. Russell (30-1, 18 KOs) was just too fast for the Spaniard and was on his way to a comfortable win on points when the fight was waived off at the suggestion of the ring physician because of a bad cut over Martinez’s left eye. A former IBF 122-pound champion, Martinez (37-9-2) is now 1-4 in world title fights.

Undercard

In the first of the TV fights, North Las Vegas junior welterweight Juan Heraldez remained unbeaten but barely as he was held to a draw by former IBF 130-pound world title-holder Argenis Mendez. One judge had it 97-73 for Mendez but the others had it even. Heraldez (16-0-1) was one of four Mayweather Promotions fighters on the card. Mendez, from Yonkers, New York, via the Dominican Republic, was held to a draw in a second straight fight, bringing his record to 25-5-3.

A previous draw ensued in an 8-round contest between 30-something heavyweights, Robert Alfonso (18-0-1) and Iago Kiladze (26-4-1). Alfonso, a Cuban defector and ex-Olympian who trains with Wilder in Tuscaloosa, weighed in at 254, giving him a 35-pound weight advantage. He had Kiladze fighting off his back foot for much of the contest, but the LA-based fighter from the Republic of Georgia snuck in enough punches to stem a 3-fight losing streak.

Bantamweight Gary Antonio Russell moved to 14-0 with a six-round technical decision over Tijuana’s Saul Hernandez (13-13-1). A clash of heads in the sixth round left the Mexican disoriented and the bout went to the cards where Antonio won by scores of 59-55 and 60-54 twice. Hernandez didn’t figure to go the distance. In his last three fights, he fattened up his record against opponents who were a combined 0-30.

In a fight slated for eight rounds, junior welterweight Gary Antuanne Russell improved to 9-0 (9) with a fourth round stoppage of Nicaragua’s Marcos Mojica (16-4-2) who had the misfortune of being thrust against a former Olympian in a second straight bout. Mojica was on the canvas twice before the referee intervened. He lasted longer than any of Russell’s previous opponents, none of whom lasted beyond three frames.

Brooklyn-born Richardson Hitchins, who represented Haiti in the 2016 Olympics, improved to 9-0 (5) when Columbia’s Alejandro Munero (4-2-3) was unable to answer the bell for round four. The 21-year-old Hitchins was making his eighth appearance at Barclays.

Dylan Price, a 20-year-old bantamweight from Sicklerville, NJ, improved to 8-0 when the corner of Mexico’s Manuel Manzo (4-7-2) stopped the one-sided beatdown midway through the sixth round.

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The Tartan Tornado and the Monster Advance in the World Boxing Super Series

Arne K. Lang

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World Boxing Super Series

Semifinal matchups in the 118- and 140-pound tournaments of the World Boxing Super Series played out today, May 18, at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland. All four participants entered the day undefeated.

In the main go, junior welterweight Josh Taylor, the Tartan Tornado, delighted the home folks by winning a unanimous decision over Ivan “The Beast” Baranchyk. Fighting in the same arena where he won Commonwealth Gold in 2014, Taylor outpointed Baranchyk on scores of 117-109 and 115-111 twice.

Taylor had an anxious moment in the fifth round when Baranchyk landed three unanswered punches that momentarily left Taylor on shaky legs. But in the very next frame, Taylor came up big, knocking Baranchyk to the canvas twice, first with a right hook and then a left to the head followed by a left to the body.

Baranchyk, who pepped for this fight at Freddie Roach’s gym in Hollywood, recuperated nicely. Taylor could have played it safe by going on his bicycle in the final round, but he elected to trade with Baranchyk who finished strong, although clearly behind on the cards.

With the victory, Josh Taylor improved to 15-0 and moves on to a contest with Regis Prograis, a bout that will likely land in Glasgow and, if so, will be the biggest fight ever in Scotland. Baranchyk, who was born in Russia but has been residing in Oklahoma, declined to 19-1

The Monster

In the co-feature, Yokohama’s baby-faced Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (18-0, 16 KOs) showed that he belongs on everyone’s pound-for-pound list with a second round blast-out of Puerto Rico’s previously undefeated Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1). After a fairly even first round, Inoue lowered the boom in the second, decking Rodriguez three times to force an intervention. At stake were the IBF and WBA bantamweight titles. With the win, Inoue earned a date with Filipino veteran Nonito Donaire who was in the building.

Inoue scored his first knockdown with a left hook and that spelled the beginning of the end for Rodriguez. In his previous two bouts, Inoue demolished title-holders Jamie McDonnell and Juan Carlos Payano in the opening round. If he gets past Donaire – and he will be heavily favored – he will be the odds-on choice to be named the 2019 Fighter of the Year.

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