Stopping short of making a prediction, Rich Gingras offered only one promise to his opponent, Angel Camacho Jr.
“If he wants my belt, he’ll have to earn it,” said Gingras at Thursday’s final weigh-in and press conference for “Mayhem,” presented by CES Boxing. “He can’t play around and dance around the ring all night. He has to earn it.”
Ginrgas (15-4-1, 6 KOs) and Camacho Jr. (14-0, 4 KOs), neither of whom had any trouble making the 175-pound weight limit, face one another Friday night at Twin River Casino in the 10-round headliner with both Gingras’ N.E. Title and the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) International Title on the line.
This long awaited showdown has been billed as a puncher vs. boxer match-up, a contrast in styles between two fighters who’ve established themselves among the elite in the northeast.
“It’s no secret Rich is tough,” said Camacho Jr., who fights for the first time since defeating Chris Chatman in April. “He’s a come-and-get-you kind of fighter.”
Camacho Jr., a Providence, R.I., native, returned to his roots in preparation for Friday’s fight, reuniting with his original trainer, Gerry Maccarone. This is Camacho’s third fight since November, ending a long, inactive stretch in which he fought just once between 2008 and 2014.
“This is the biggest fight of my life, the biggest fight of my career,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know this, but I had to dig down deep my last two fights. I had some problems in and out of the ring. You won’t see that this time. You’re going to see the best of me.
“I’m coming to maintain my undefeated record and add some new hardware around my waist.”
No stranger to big fights, Lincoln’s Gingras returns for the first time in more than a year since he defeated Joey McCreedy in 2014 in the first and only defense of his title. Gingras has mixed it up with New England’s best, among them Peter Manfredo Jr.
“This is going to be a tough night for both of us,” Gingras said. “Every fight, I take as serious as the previous one. I’m a professional. That’s the way I do it.
“It was a very hard camp. I was very focused. I’ll have a huge fan following out there tomorrow. It’ll be a pro-Gingras crowd.”
The Gingras-Camacho Jr. 10-round main event headlines an eight-fight card that also features the return of undefeated Worcester, Mass., junior middleweight Khiary Gray (8-0, 6 KOs), who faces Kenton Sippio-Cook (6-2, 4 KOs) of Austin, Tex., for the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) Northeast title.
“They made a mistake,” Sippio-Cook said. “Someone didn’t do their homework, or the don’t care about the kid. I came here for one reason and one reason only, to get my belt.
“I guarantee you it’ll be a great show tomorrow night. You won’t want to miss it.”
Countered Gray: “I never turn down a fight. I don’t care what weight it is. I’m bringing that belt home.”
The undercard features several new faces, highlighted by Stoughton, Mass., junior welterweight Travis Demko (3-0, 1 KO), who makes his Rhode Island debut against Mohamed Allam (1-0) of Holyoke, Mass., followed by Worcester junior middleweight Andy Gonzalez (1-0, 1 KO), who battles Gloucester, Mass., vet Pedro Gonzalez (2-2, 1 KO). Both are four-round bouts.
In an added bonus, New London, Conn., heavyweight Cassius Chaney (3-0, 2 KOs), a former two-time amateur national champion, makes his Twin River debut against Alando Pugh (1-5-1, 1 KO) of Washington, D.C., in a four-round bout and undefeated Cranston, R.I., welterweight Nick DeLomba (8-0, 2 KOs) returns from his biggest win in July to face the undefeated Gledwin Ortiz (2-0, 2 KOs) of the Bronx in a six-round bout.
Framingham, Mass., junior welterweight Julio Perez (1-0) faces newcomer Pedro Martinez Jr. of Mooresville, N.C., in a four-round bout and undefeated Worcester super featherweight Freddy Sanchez (5-0, 4 KOs) returns to face Boston’s Rafael Francis (0-5) in a four-round rematch.