As Chris Chatman said matter-of-factly at Thursday’s pre-fight weigh-in, “I beat Thomas before, and I’ll beat him again.” The Jersey City vet delivered Friday, earning a split-decision win over rival Thomas Falowo (14-4) for the second time in three years in the main event of CES Boxing’s event at Twin River Casino.
After beating Falowo in 2013 – same ring, same venue – Chatman (14-5-1) out-boxed and out-worked the Pawtucket, R.I., native, fighting effectively on angles and, at times, boxing circles around his opponent. The two clashed heads in the third round, opening a cut over Falowo’s right eye, but Falowo bounced back and closed the round effectively.
The eye didn’t appear to bother Falowo, but Chatman’s speed and elusiveness did; Chatman was his usual boastful self, showboating between punches and dancing during breaks to simultaneously keep the crowd entertained and avoid Falowo’s onslaught. The first time they fought, Chatman won 77-75 on all three scorecards. This time, it was a 78-74, 74-78, 78-74 split decision verdict with Clark Sammartino and Steve Weisfeld scoring it in favor of Chatman and Eddie Scuncio in favor of Falowo.
In his seventh appearance at Twin River, Chatman improved to 5-2 in the Ocean State, including last year’s win over Providence native Vladine Biosse.
Reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) Female Middleweight Champion Kali Reis improved to 10-5-1 in Friday’s co-feature, beating Atlantic City’s Althea Saunders (3-3-2) by unanimous decision 80-72, 79-73, 79-73 in an exciting, yet lopsided, fight. Saunders hung in for eight rounds, but Reis was the busier, more effective fighter, turning on the pressure starting in the third round and coasting down the stretch for her third consecutive win.
Rising lightweight prospect Jamaine Ortiz (2-0, 2 KOs) of Worcester, Mass., stepped up in his second pro fight to face St-Georges, Quebec native Kimmy St-Pierre (1-2), who fought tooth and nail for three rounds until a series of body shots sent him to the canvas in the closing seconds. Though he was saved by the bell in the third, St-Pierre didn’t answer the bell for the fourth, cutting short a valiant effort in which he traded blows for nearly nine minutes with a decorated amateur in Ortiz, who came within a whisker of qualifying for the Olympics in 2015.
Stepping right back into the fire after capturing the vacant New England Super Lightweight Championship in May, Cranston, R.I., native Nick DeLomba (10-1) put the title on the line Friday in another tough test against Bridgeport, Conn., vet Oscar Bonilla (3-2-2). The two stood toe-to-toe in a see-saw battle with DeLomba narrowly defending the belt by unanimous decision, 58-56, on all three scorecards.
Bonilla came out firing early, using his speed to land early and often, but DeLomba settled down in the middle rounds before Bonilla opened the sixth and final round with a hard, overhand right, momentarily stunning DeLomba. After settling down a second time, DeLomba continued to box effectively on the outside to close the fight to defend the title, his second consecutive win and second of 2016.
In a strong candidate for Fight of the Year, junior middleweight Ray Oliveira Jr. (5-0) of New Bedford, Mass., kept his perfect record intact with a hard-earned majority decision win over Worcester’s Andy Gonzalez (3-1), the first loss of Gonzalez’s pro career. Weisfeld scored the bout a draw, 38-38, while Scuncio and Sammartino ruled 39-37 in favor of Oliveira Jr.
The four-round battle was all action from the opening bell. Gonzalez and Oliveira Jr. fought in close quarters the majority of the fight, trading blows on the inside with Gonzalez utilizing his right hook from a distance while Oliveira Jr. repeatedly stemmed the tide with uppercuts on the inside. Oliveira’s work along the ropes was the difference-maker as Gonzalez wasn’t nearly as effective when locked in defense mode in the later rounds.
Worcester middleweight Kendrick Ball Jr. (2-0, 2 KOs) and New London, Conn., welterweight Cristobal Marrero (1-0, 1 KO) each scored impressive knockout wins on the undercard. Making his professional debut following a brief amateur career split between New London and Worcester, Marrero stopped Pennsylvania native Roosevelt Archie (0-2) at 1:05 of the opening round with a devastating hook to the body. Fresh off a first-round knockout win in his pro debut in May, Ball Jr. picked up where he left off against Bruno Dias (0-1) of Woburn, Mass., sending Dias to the canvas three times in the second round before referee Eddie Claudio stopped the bout at the 1:56 mark.