PROVIDENCE – U.S. Marine Sgt. James Smith has been in the ring at most Classic Entertainment and Sports, Inc. (CES) pro boxing shows at Twin River since 2008 as part of the Honor Guard accompanying the singing of the National Anthem. This Friday night, however, Smith will be out of uniform and wearing trunks for his pro debut.
Undefeated Providence super middleweight Vladine Biosse (7-0, 4 KOs) leads the next generation of New England fighters into action on Friday night’s “Labor Daze” card, presented by CES, at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, RI.
The Cape Verdean native Biosse (7-0, 4 KOs), a former University of Rhode Island football player, defends his EBA title against Ibahiem “The Almighty” King (7-4, 2 KOs) in the 8-round main event.
Smith, a super welterweight matched against Shawn Pyles (0-1) in a 4-round bout, is originally from Portland, Maine. The 26-year-old has been an active U.S. Marine for the last seven years. He is presently stationed in Rhode Island — living in Warwick with his wife and two children — attached to the Rhode Island Reserves assisting with training for upcoming deployment overseas. Sgt. Smith has done two tours in Iraq.
Sgt. Smith has been on leave since Aug. 23 training for his pro boxing debut, something he has dreamed about since he was a little boy. “I’ve been a gym rat since I was four or five,” he explained. “I remember sitting on my father’s shoulders watching Joey Gamache win the world title (June 13, 1992 when Maine’s favorite son Gamache knocked out Chil Sung Chin in the ninth round at Cumberland Civic Center in Portland). Fighting as a pro has been on my mind since then.”
In 2009, Sgt. Smith captured top honors in the 152-pound decision of the New England Golden Gloves, defeating Michael Andrade. “I’m through with being nervous; now I’m just anxious to get in the ring and succeed in my pro debut,” James added. “I’m taking a realistic approach to boxing. I know what it takes to be world champion having grown up watching Joey Gamache and Marcus Davis (now a UFC star). Maybe someday I’ll get a title shot; I’m only 26 and have some time. I’ll see where it goes.”
Other 4-round bouts on the card include Fall River (MA) super welterweight Dustin Reinhold (2-1, 2 KOs) vs. Providence’s pro-debuting Rameil Shelton, a senior at Tolman High in Pawtucket; Woonsocket (RI) super middleweight Joe Gardner (5-1-1, 1 KO) vs. New Bedford’s (MA) Eric Pinarreta (2-4, 2 KOs); New Bedford (MA) super lightweight Jonathan Vazquez (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Tony Marks (0-4); Providence firefighter and cruiserweight Eric Estrada (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Tauheed Wheeler (0-3); and Barnstable (MA) heavyweight Jesse “Bad News” Barboza (3-1, 3 KOs) vs. Antonio Robertson (0-1). All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Tickets for “Labor Daze,” priced at $35.00, $50.00, $75.00 and $125.00, 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. Ticket-buyers who purchase a VIP seat will also receive a 25%-off coupon for Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse, valid for 30 days following the fight.
(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “Labor Daze.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied at all times by an adult and they must enter through the West entrance.)