PROVIDENCE, R.I. – IBO Middleweight Champion “The Pride of Providence” Peter Manfredo Jr. returns to his roots Nov. 12, headlining “Homecoming King” in a 10-round, non-title fight against Colombian power-puncher Jhon Berrio (15-7, 11 KOs), at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, R.I.
“Homecoming King” is presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc (CES) in association with DiBella Entertainment and Twin River.
It’s been two years since Manfredo (35-6, 19 KOs) last fought in Rhode Island, but the star of The Contender, Season I reality television series obviously enjoys fighting in his backyard, sporting a 16-1 (10 KOs) pro record in Rhode Island, including 3-0 (3 KOs) at Twin River.
“Fighting at home is a key for me because I’m very comfortable and it’s convenient being with my family, sleeping in my own bed, eating at familiar restaurants, training in my father’s gym, and running the same places,” Manfredo said. “Twin River is right down the street from where I work and, of course, there’s nothing better than fighting in front of my fans. A lot of people feel that there’s a lot of pressure fighting at home. I don’t have any pressure here. I’ve been fighting in Rhode Island since I was five years old. Boxing is still big here and the fans are great.”
The plan for the final chapter of the 29-year-old Manfredo’s career tentatively includes a win Nov. 12, successfully defending his IBO title on the January 14th ESPN Friday Night Fights show and then, hopefully, an IBF title fight against champion Sebastian Sylvester.
“Vinny Paz (fellow Rhode Islander) was an inspiration for me growing up and his first world title was for the IBF against Greg Haugen,” the IBF No 12-ranked middleweight explained. “When I first started hanging – not really hanging, but being around Paz – it was kind of weird because, as a kid, I looked up to him and now he’s watching me go through some of what he did as a fighter. It’s weird, but cool……awesome! Paz is a great guy. He left it all in the ring as a blood-and-guts fighter and I see myself being the same type of fighter. He never backed down from anybody and neither have I. I may not have beaten (Joe) Calzaghe or (Sakio) Bika, but I went toe-to-toe with ‘em. That’s why my fights sell out at Twin River. Fans here want to see a good fight – win, lose or draw. We’re entertainers and, just like Paz, I always want to give fans their money’s worth. Fans loved Paz for that and I believe fans feel that way about me. I idolized him and someday, I hope, we can sit down in retirement and talk about our IBF title belts and fights.”
Burchfield promoted Manfredo, who will be making his promotional debut for Lou DiBella (DiBella Entertainment), for Manfredo’s first 21 pro fights (2000-2004) prior to his CES release in order for him to participate in The Contender. “Everything has worked out great for me,” Manfredo noted. “Lou and Jimmy are working together on this fight so I can fight at home. I never meant to hurt anybody and did what I’ve done for me and my family. I think it’s cool that they’ve worked things out to help me. It all started for me with Jimmy and I love the guy. Lou hasn’t seen me fight live and this will give him an opportunity to see what he’s added to his stable. I think he’s the guy to get me that big shot for the IBF title. I have to get this fight out of the way, first, and look good doing it before moving on.”
In an intra-state battle, West Warwick’s (RI) Keith Kozlin (6-1, 4 KOs) faces Woonsocket’s (RI) Joe Gardner (6-1-1, 1 KO) for the vacant EBA New England Light Heavyweight Championship in the 6-round co-feature.
Providence cruiserweight Dante Wiggins, nephew of former Providence heavyweight Robert Wiggins will make his pro debut against an opponent to be determined. Also on the undercard in 4-round bouts are Marshfield (MA) junior middleweight Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (3-1, 1 KO) vs. Lisa Bolin (2-3); undefeated Providence firefighter Eric “Star” Estrada (2-0, 2 KOs) vs. upset-minded Tobias Rice (2-1, 2 KOs); Hyannis (MA) heavyweight Jesse “Bad News” Barboza (4-1, 3 KOs) attempting to avenge his only loss versus Winston Thorpe (3-0, 2 KOs); New Bedford super lightweight Jonathan Vazquez (2-0, 2 KOs) against Ernest Butts III (0-1); and Pawtucket (RI) middleweight Thomas Falowo making his much-anticipated pro debut against Odias Dumezil (2-4, 1 KO), a former sparring partner for world champion Andre Berto. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Tickets for “Homecoming King,” priced at $40.00, $60.00, $100.00 and $150.00 (VIP), 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.