Heavyweight Cassius Chaney returns with stoppage win; results from Mohegan Sun

By Alex Pierpaoli

“We had a long training camp for this, man,” Cassius Chaney told the crowd last night at Mohegan Sun Arena after scoring a first round victory over the reluctant Matthew McKinney. Chaney returned to the ring for the first time since splitting with his old management team, after picking up his first loss, to George Arias, back in December.

Now reunited with head trainer Kent Ward of New London’s Whaling City Athletic Club, Chaney is back with the people who first developed him into a prizefighter when the now 35 year old was just 22.

Although dissatisfying in how it played out, Chaney, 252 lbs, did exactly what is to be expected when faced with an opponent the likes of McKinney; he got him out of there quickly. McKinney, of Fullerton, CA, charged out at the bell and rushed at Chaney behind a jab. As McKinney pressed, Chaney looked for openings and stuck him with a right to the mid-section. Any boldness from McKinney seemed to vanish with the impact. McKinney backed off and Chaney pressed forward, landing a hard right of his own to McKinney’s body. Down went the Californian and Ref Johnny Callas reached a count of 8 before McKinney got up. Callas let him continue and Chaney came in to finish, landed what appeared to be another grazing body shot and McKinney went down again, grimacing. McKinney got up slowly, while even Cassius Chaney goaded him into rising from the neutral corner, but McKinney was clearly looking for a way out. Chaney moved in to finish, grazed him with a right to the head and McKinney slumped into a neutral corner. As the crowd booed and Cassius Chaney shook his head in disgust, Ref. Johnny Callas did everyone a favor and waved an end to the bout.

Chaney was crestfallen during the post fight interview with the ring announcer. He worked very hard in camp and hoped to put on a show for his New London area supporters. There’s a saying in boxing; win tonight, look good tomorrow. And that’s exactly what Chaney did last night.

Cassius Chaney improved his record to 22-4 (15) and hopes to fight again this fall. In defeat, Mathew McKinney’s record fell to 9-6-2 (6).

Juiseppe Cusamano, 235lbs, scored a second round stoppage over Dennis Ventura, 215 1/2 lbs, of Lynn, MA. Cusamano blasted away at the body of the smaller Ventura in round one and in the second Ventura was stunned along the ropes from a barrage. Again Cusamano landed heavily to the body and Ventura stagger-stepped briefly prompting Referee Danny Schiavone to step in way too early and halt the fight. Ventura looked at Schiavone in disbelief as he had been hurt to the belly but the attack was hardly withering. This observer felt Schiavone may have overreacted to the loss of balance by Ventura but whatever the case he waved the fight off at 1:59 of round two.

Cusamano improved his record to 21-4 (18) while Dennis Ventura fell to 4-2 (3).

There was rousing applause for lightweight Alejandro Paulino of New London, CT who brought quite a cheering section. Paulino passed a gut-check in defeating Brandon Idrogo of by 6 round unanimous decision. Idrogo stunned Paulino early in the first and blasted away, hoping to capitalize. But by the end of the first Paulino roared back landing a flurry of his own just before the bell. Paulino made up for possibly losing the first by setting a blistering pace in rounds 2 and 3.

In round 4, Paulino is cut horribly in the mouth from what looked to be an unintentional clash of heads. Despite a grisly wound and lots of blood which was clearly obstructing his breathing, Paulino stayed focused and kept Idrogo on the run with left hooks to the guts and accurate power-shots. At the end of six the judges saw it 58-56, 59-55 and 60-53 all in favor of Alejandro Paulino.

Paulino goes to 11-0 (9) while Idrogo falls to 6-3 (6).

Middleweight Francis Hogan of Weymouth, MA, controlled Cleotis Pendarvis, of Lancaster, CA, with a speedy, power jab from the southpaw stance. Pendarvis went down from a straight left hand in round 3, he seemed to freeze along the ropes before slumping to the canvas. He beat ref Johnny Callas’ count and survived the round.

But Hogan sensed blood in the water and after controlling the bulk of the 5th, he slammed Pendarvis with a straight left that produced a loud cracking sound. Pendarvis sat down hard, glossy-eyed, Ref. Johnny Callas started a count but after looking closely abandoned it and waved the bout off. The official time was 2:59 of round number 5.

Hogan lifts his record to 12-0 (11) while Pendarvis falls to 21-11-2 (9).

In other action:

Heavyweight, Sean Bey continued his kayo streak with a second round stoppage of John Shipman of Dallas, TX. Bey is now 7-0 (7), Shipman returns to Texas at 4-3 (2).

Light heavyweight, Gary Balleto III, of Cranston, RI, scored a second round stoppage victory over debuting, Jeremiah David Austin of Niagra Fall, NY. Balleto is now 3-0 (2) and Austin enters the pro ranks at 0-1.

Jalen Renaud, of Sp[ringfield, MA, remained unbeaten, scoring a six round UD over Michael Ogundo, of Quincy, MA. Renaud is now 9-0 (3) while Ogundo drops to 16-16 (13).

Jonathan DePina of Boston, MA scored a UD over Christian Otero, of New York, NY. Scores were 58-56 x 2 and 59-55. DePina raises his record to 9-1 (4) while Otero’s drops to 4-2 (2).

Stevie Jane Coleman fought the first bout of the night scoring a first round victory over debuting Jesenia Rivas of Denver, CO. Coleman is now 3-1 (1) and Rivas backs into the pro ranks at 0-1.

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The Homecoming Kid, Cassius Chaney

By Alex Pierpaoli

Heavyweight contender Cassius Chaney returns to Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday night in an 8 round featured attraction, as Rhode Island based CES Promotions brings boxing back to Uncasville, CT.

Chaney, born in Baltimore, Maryland, grew up in the New London area and attended Old Saybrook High School. He went to college at University of New Haven and played basketball for the Elm City university before trying his mettle as a boxer.

Trainer Kent Ward remembers the first time Chaney came up the staircase at the old Whaling City Athletic Club address on New London’s Bank Street. Ward worked the mitts with then 22 year old Cassius and had a feeling about him from the start. Now 20-1 with 14 kayos as a professional, Chaney has returned to Whaling City Athletic Club and developmental trainer Kent Ward.

“I’m trying to get him back to the aggressive fighter he was in the Golden Gloves,” Ward said.

Saturday night will be Chaney’s first time through the ropes in twenty-twenty-two and his first bout since losing for the first time, back in December against undefeated, speedy heavyweight George Arias. Chaney dropped a 10 round split decision to Arias and afterwards, split with his management team and came back to where he started.

At Whaling City Athletic Club, not only is Chaney back where he first learned to box, there, he also gets to work closely with kids through the gym and its close-knit community. A basketball quarter court abuts the boxing ring at Whaling City and as Chaney blasts away at the mitts held by Team Chaney member, Kyle Holland, a missed shot bounces into the ring and rolls between Chaney’s legs.

“Sorry,” a child shouts. “Sorry, my bad.” He offers a second apology as he scrambles to grab the basketball that has rolled off the other side of the ring. Chaney gives a small nod, acknowledging the mistake and gets back to work.

“Make sure to call him ‘Kid’ Chaney,” says trainer Kent Ward. Cassius blushes, shaking his head. At 35, and father of a one-year old girl, Chaney is no kid. But Ward knows his charge is a dangerous heavyweight contender as well as a gentle giant who works very well with kids. The moniker seems a fitting one for the 6 foot 6 inch, two hundred fifty-plus pound prizefighter with the easy, infectious smile.

“It used to be a big fighter nickname,” says Fred Weaver, another member of Team Chaney.

He’s right. Boxing has had lots of great Kids; Kid Gavilan, Kid Chocolate, Kid Lewis, Kid Berg, Kid Azteca and plenty more popularized the nickname. And, as Chaney circles the ring, working on lateral movement and eye-hand coordination with amateur boxer Andy ChaCha, the pair tossing tennis balls back and forth to each other; it’s easy to see the ‘Kid’ nickname fits.

Chaney is scheduled to meet journeyman, Matthew McKinney, 9-5-3 (4), of Oceanside, California.

Also on the fight card, heavyweight Joe Cusamano, 20-4 (18), continues his comeback campaign after a December 1st round kayo defeat to Daniel Dubois. Cusamano scored a 1st round kayo over Irineu Costa Jr in June at Twin River Event Center.

Female welterweight, Stevie Jane Coleman, 2-1, enters the ring for her first fight since November when she picked up a 4 round UD over LeAnn O’Malley.

Undefeated boxers galore flesh out the rest of the fight card:

Sean Bey, 6-0 (6), heavyweight out of Providence returns to his busy schedule. His debut came on July 23rd of last year and he fought four times in 2021, Saturday night will be his third time through the ropes this year.

Middleweight Jalen Renaud, 8-0 (3), of Springfield, MA, returns to the prize ring after scoring a 6 round UD over tough Evincii Dixon in his last bout, in April.

Also scheduled to appear:

Middleweight southpaw, Francis Hogan, 11-0, of MA in a scheduled 6 rounder.

Light heavyweight, Gary Balleto Jr, 2-0 (1) of Cranston, RI.

Super featherweight, Alejandro Paulino, 10-0 (9), of New London, CT

Super Middle Jahvel Joseph, 5-0 (2), of the Bronx, NY

Middleweight, James Maner, 2-0 (2), of Providence, RI

Tickets are available through CESFights.com, Ticketmaster or Mohegan Sun Arena.