Boxing


Ayala vs. Armenta on 5/6, Molina vs. Conyers on Friday, Gennaro-Godoy on 4/29

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (April 19, 2011) – Even with all the talent and resources in the world at his disposal, Elvin Ayala wasn’t always ready to embrace the spotlight.

“I was afraid of the next level,” said the New Haven, Conn., super middleweight, who’s preparing to face veteran George Armenta of Silver Spring, Md., on Friday, May 6th, 2011 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket. “I couldn’t admit that to myself.

“That was a major thing for me. I wasn’t prepared mentally. Now I’m willing to go all the way. I feel like a beast now. I’m no longer afraid of success.”

To prove he’s willing to back up his words, Ayala has added another member to his team, hiring Providence-based trainer Peter Manfredo Sr., the father of current International Boxing Organization (IBO) middleweight champion and former “The Contender” finalist Peter Manfredo Jr.

The elder Manfredo has worked with a handful of world-class fighters through the years, including undefeated Worcester, Mass., super middleweight Edwin Rodriguez, former “Contender” star Jesse Brinkley, and 2010 national Golden Gloves champion and 2012 Olympic hopeful Toka Kahn-Clary of Providence.

Manfredo’s wisdom could pay dividends immediately; Manfredo trained Rodriguez when Rodriguez knocked out Armenta (13-6, 11 KOs) in the opening round of their bout in Oklahoma this past March. Ayala will face Armenta in the eight-round co-feature of Jimmy Burchfield’s “Champion Breed” event, presented by Classic Entertainment & Sports at the Fox Theater. Undefeated super middleweight Vladine Biosse (11-0, 6 KOs) of Providence, R.I., will star in the main event.

“I’m not the type to get comfortable with anyone,” Ayala said. “The first step was surrounding myself with the right kind of people. I’ve got the hardest-working promoter, Jimmy Burchfield, on my team now. He knows how to get fighters to where they need to be. Once I established that, I needed a world-class trainer. Not that who I was with wasn’t good, but I just felt like it was time for a change. I had always seen [Manfredo] in the past and I thought considering the type of person he is, the type of trainer he is, and who he’s worked with, I’d be comfortable. So far, I’ve been right.

“We have everything we need now. There are no excuses. This is the team that will get us to the top.”

At 30, Ayala knows this might be his last shot at chasing a world title, so he’s taking every necessary precaution to make sure nothing derails this current run. After suffering a brutal loss to prospect David Lemieux on ESPN in June of 2010, Ayala linked up with a new management team and signed a promotional agreement with CES.

Following back-to-back wins, including an impressive, fourth-round knockout win over Woonsocket’s Joe Gardner on ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” on April 1st, Ayala is now looking to go one step further with Manfredo in his corner.

“[The loss to Lemieux] was like an awakening,” Ayala said. “I felt that if I was going to put everything I have on the table, then I needed to bring in the people who could help me get whatever I didn’t have. Peter has the skills to tighten me up. I’m not changing my style; we’re just making it better. I want to be able to get away from punches and still be in a position where I can throw combinations.

“The key is being able to attack right away. Sometimes I put punches in and then I wait … and wait … and then snap a jab. I want to be able to throw a jab knowing what he’s going to do next – almost like playing chess. I want to know his next four moves ahead of time. Right now, I know two. With Peter, now I feel I can execute three or four moves in advance.”

Ayala entered the professional ranks in 2003 with a limited amateur background (only 14 bouts), so working with him is still somewhat of a reclamation project for Manfredo despite the fact Ayala has 28 fights under his belt.

“He’s a quick learner,” Manfredo said. “He knows if he puts in the time and the work and the knowledge and experience I can give him, we can go to another level.

“He’s a great human being – a great person, a lot of [guts]. He’s got a lot of heart and he’s got the will. He wants it. He wants to win. He sparred eight rounds with three different guys and he looked spectacular. I closed it off with four rounds with Vladine and he did well. No matter what I tell him to do, he does. He works.”

The win over Gardner showcased two sides of Ayala. Since that was a nationally-televised swing bout, Ayala had no idea when he was fighting until Biosse disposed of his opponent five rounds into the co-feature bout against Tim Connors. Asked to step in immediately after Biosse’s fight ended, Ayala made quick work of Gardner, giving the national boxing audience a chance to see a different fighter than the one it saw 10 months earlier against Lemieux. At the same time, Ayala felt he could’ve ended the fight a lot sooner, pointing to his aforementioned lack of counterpunching as the reason it lasted four rounds.

The goal of working with Manfredo is to eliminate the holes in his game so Ayala can box more efficiently. The first test will come May 6th against Armenta, a tough veteran who could push Ayala much further than Gardner did in April. As Manfredo puts it, these are the fighters Ayala needs to “stop” in order to move up to the next level.

“I know he has a durable chin and he’s ready to go every round. He’s coming to fight,” Ayala said of Armenta. “He’s been out for a year, but I remember I was out for a year and I came back and knocked my opponent out, so that doesn’t mean anything. Edwin beat him with a body shot, so I know his body isn’t that strong. I respect every fighter who steps into that ring, but I’m looking for a knockout.”

The undercard of “Champion Breed” stars New Haven lightweight Christian Lao (1-0, 1 KO) facing Barrington Douse of Springfield, Mass., in Douse’s professional debut; unbeaten middleweight Thomas Falowo (2-0, 2 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I., taking on Tampa’s Marvin Jones (2-0, 2 KOs); and welterweight Johnathan Vazquez (3-0, 3 KOs) of New Bedford, Mass., facing Robert Hunt (0-0) of nearby Hyannis in four-round bouts.

Former NFL defensive lineman Jevon Langford (6-0, 6 KOs), who played six seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, will make his long-awaited return to the heavyweight division in a four-round bout against veteran Tobias Rice (2-3, 2 KOs) of Macon, Ga.

Light heavyweight Keith Kozlin (6-2, 4 KOs) of Warwick, R.I., and New Haven middleweight Rick Dawson (3-0, 1 KO) are also on the card in separate four-round bouts. Kozlin will face Grover Young (5-1, 2 KOs) of Memphis, Tenn.

Tickets for “Champion Breed”, priced at $40, $65 and $105, can be purchased by calling the Foxwoods box office at 800.200.2882, or online at www.foxwoods.com. For more information, visit www.cesboxing.com or www.foxwoods.com. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7:30.

Molina-Conyers on Friday, 4/29

Junior middleweight "King" Carlos Molina will be playing a different role than the one he's become accustomed to lately when he meets fellow spoiler Allen Conyers in the April 29 main-event broadcast of ESPN2's Friday Night Fights from the deck of the Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Coming off the biggest fight of his career, a majority draw against red-hot Cuban prospect Erislandy Lara that most observers felt he had won, Molina will be entering the ring as the favorite.

He's not used to that.

"I'm usually the underdog," laughs the 27-year-old Chicagoan via Mexico. "But it doesn't affect me at all. When you're the favorite, you go do what you're supposed to do and not worry about anybody else."

Back in 2009, Molina (17-4-2, 5 KOs) had put together an excellent nine-fight string of victories over fighters he was not expected to beat including Alexis Camacho (then 17-1); current WBO #9-rated Ed Paredes (then 21-2); and Danny Perez (then 34-5) for the WBO NABO Light Middleweight title. The Perez victory even put Molina in the top 15 of their world ratings. Unfortunately after that fight, Molina spent nearly two years inactive because of a contract dispute with his former promoter, Don King.

The layoff following the Perez win was not the first time bad luck or politics had affected his career. In 2005, Molina scored what should have been a breakthrough victory over "Son of a Legend" Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. only to be given a draw on the scorecards. The two fought again in 2006 and this time Molina dropped a questionable majority decision.

"According to my trainer, I've only lost one fight. It was close but I was knocked down once and that was the difference."

Molina prepares at the JABB Gym in Chicago with longtime trainers Victor Mateo and Lou Askenette. Coming off 20 months on the shelf to put in a surprisingly strong performance against Lara, he explains, was the result of never having stopped training, even during the dispute with King. "That's why I took the fight with Lara, to get back to where I left off. I was always in the gym. I was running and working out five days a week and focusing on trying to improve things."

Similar to Conyers, Molina had only six amateur fights before turning pro. "I didn't like fighting only three rounds. I said 'you train that hard for three rounds?' I said I might as well turn."

The pair share several similarities, a fact Molina is well aware of. "He looks like he's in the same situation as me: no manger and no promoter, taking fights against undefeated guys. He's a tough guy, but I'll just work my defense and not get hit."

Not getting hit much in ten-round fight against a world-class opponent? Now that's a role Molina is used to.

On fight night, doors will open at 4:30 pm. The first fight is at 5:00 pm and the main event will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

The Cosmopolitan proudly presents another uniquely glamorous evening of world-class professional boxing; and this time, overlooking the heart of The Strip on the open-air multilevel deck of the city's most fabulous luxury pool, The Boulevard Pool. Tickets are on sale now and are priced at $50, $150 and $250 for the VIP experience, which includes a private section with comfortable seating and complimentary cocktails. Special Cabana packages also are available. Tickets are available for purchase at www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com or by calling 877-551-7776 or 702-698-6880.

THOMAS GENNARO READY FOR PRO DEBUT IN RENO ON FRIDAY, APRIL 29TH

LAS VEGAS, NV (April 26, 2011) Two time University of Nevada-Reno Boxing Champion Thomas Gennaro will make his professional debut this Friday, April 29th at the Events Center in Reno, Nevada.

Gennaro will battle in a special attraction four round welterweight bout against Oscar Godoy, 1-1-0, of Watsonville, California on the undercard of the USBO Super Middleweight Title Bout between Jesse Brinkley and Peter Quillen presented by Golden Boy Promotions, “Let’s Get It On” Promotions and Don Chargin Presents.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Gennaro has been a Las Vegas resident since the age of five. Exceeding in boxing while at college, he most recently won the USA State Championship in Henderson, Nevada last month.

He currently is finishing up a terrific camp with noted longtime trainer Pat Barry and training partners, brothers Diego and Jesse Magdaleno.

“I’m very excited to be turning professional, I’ve accomplished a great deal as an amateur and can’t wait for Friday night to arrive” said Gennaro.

“This is a terrific opportunity, the timing is right, we’ve had a very good camp over the last seven weeks and I’m ready to go.”

In appreciation of his gratitude towards his alma mater, the classy Gennaro will be donating his purse from his pro debut to the University of Nevada-Reno General Scholarship Fund.

“With the state of Nevada facing drastic cuts to their educational funds, I wanted to show my support to Governor Sandoval who I have worked with on his most recent campaign.”

“I’m a product of the great state of Nevada and its terrific educational institutions and I feel strongly in giving back to a community that has helped me get ahead in life.”

Gennaro is dedicating his performance in his pro debut to the memory of Dr. Milton Glick, the former President of the University of Nevada-Reno who passed away on April 17th and also to the all great fighters that have come from UNR.

Said Genarro, “Dr. Glick was a mentor of mine, a major advocate for higher education who always led the way in fighting for his students.”

Gennaro is guided by former middleweight contender Joey Gilbert. Gilbert is a practicing attorney and founder of Sports Entertainment Unlimited, a diverse sports management firm based in Reno and Las Vegas,

For further event and ticket information, please visit the Reno Events Center website at www.visitrenotahoe.com

Article posted on 26.04.2011



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