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