Photo – Emily Harney
Cape Cod heavyweight prospect Jesse Barboza joins forces with ‘Irish’ Micky Ward & Dicky Eklund
CES show May 7 at Twin River Event Center, RI
PROVIDENCE – Unbeaten Cape Cod heavyweight Jesse Barboza has two new formidable additions to his corner, the stars of the soon-to-be-released movie, “The Fighter,” 3-time Fight of the Year participant “Irish” Micky Ward and his brother and former trainer, Dicky Eklund.
The highly-regarded Barnstable (MA) native Barboza (3-0, 3 KOs), a 3-time New England Golden Gloves Tournament winner, faces an opponent to be determined in a 4-round bout Friday night (May 7) on the “Spring Fever” pro boxing card, presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports, Inc. (CES), at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, R.I.
In a special 9-round main event, New Bedford police officer Jason “School Boy” Pires (22-3-1, 9 KOs), a former USBA super bantamweight champion and 1996 U.S. Olympic Team alternate, faces former world title challenger Michael “Cold Blood” Clark (39-5-1, 18 KOs) for the vacant NABA-U.S. junior welterweight title.
The 23-year-old Barboza is an impressive specimen, standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 230 pounds. He’s registered the “Knockout of the Night” in each of his three pro fights, including the last one (March 19) in the second round against Richard Mason, with Ward and Eklund in his corner for the first time.
“I’ll tell you, Micky pushes you hard,” Barboza said of working under Ward. “I’m tired and he gets his second wind. No respect to 60-year-old trainers who never fought before, but everybody saw Micky do it in the ring, and he’s still the same. It’s different when he tells you something to do. He’s out there hittin’ and sweatin’ with you. We bonded quickly. Dicky is like an Energizer bunny. He may be older than Micky, but never gets tired. Dicky not only works out with you, he gets in the ring and spars, too. This (being trained by Ward and Eklund) is hard to believe.”
Barboza was a standout middle linebacker for Barnstable High and planned on playing college ball. Both of his parents, however, lost their jobs at the same time. Jesse, admittedly, didn’t work too hard on academics and, after graduating from BHS, he found himself at home and missing the competitiveness of sports. “I needed a competitive edge after high school, so I went to the gym one day,” he explained. “I liked what I saw and decided for the first time in my life I’d give 100 percent. My grandfather was an amateur boxer and I became one. I enjoyed watching Mike Tyson. I have short-range goals and in about 10 more fights I want to be considered one of the top heavyweight prospects in the United States. I want to go in boxing where Micky has already been.”
Also slated to fight in 4-round bouts are some of New England’s finest prospects: Providence super middleweight and former University of Rhode Island football player Vladine Biosse (5-0, 4 KOs) vs. TBA; Warwick (RI) super middleweight Keith Kozlin (5-0, 2 KOs) vs. Greg McCoy (0-1-1); Hartford middleweight David Bauza (4-0, 3 KOs) vs. Richard “Hurricane” Grant (4-3, 2 KOs); New Haven light welterweight Edwin Soto (3-0, 2 KOs) vs. Carlos Hernandez (pro debut); Marshfield (MA) welterweight Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (1-1, 1 KO) vs. Natoya Ervin (1-4), Lincoln (RI) light welterweight Diego Pereira (4-0, 2 KOs) vs. TBA, and New Haven (CT) middleweight Ricky Dawson, whose younger brother Chad is recognized as one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world, making his CES and pro debut. All boxers are subject to change.
Ticket prices for “Spring Fever” are $35.00, $50.00, $75.00 and $100.00 and are available to purchase by calling CES (401.724.2253/2254), going online at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, at Twin River’s Players Club booth at Twin River, or any TicketMaster location.
(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “Spring Fever.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied at all times by an adult and they must enter through the West entrance.)