Rhode Wars IV from Cranston Rhode Island Results

By Alex Pierpaoli

Bout 1, Calixto Cruz, 143lbs, of Springfield, MA goes up against Kevin Traynor, 142lbs, of Denny, Scotland in a 4 round over-the-weight, Jr Welterweight bout. Traynor more consistently aggressive in the first round but Cruz landed heavier especially in the second half of the opening round. Traynor ate several big over hand rights to the head and a mean right hook to the ribs. Traynor using no gears but forward and he’s crowding Cruz, bulling him into the ropes. Traynor’s corner shouting “he’s tired, he’s tired” but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Again it’s Cruz landing heavier and he likely steals the round from the aggressive Scot once he gets some distance from him and cracks him several times with heavy lead rights. Traynor lands a heavy right and makes the mistake of pressing forward right into a hard overhand right from Cruz which knocks him back. When they fight at distance it’s all Cruz. Lots of leather landed by both fighters in an exciting third but it’s Cruz who has likely won every round thus far on the basis of heavier shots. Traynor is trying his ass off but out-gunned. Cruz very relaxed at the start of the 4th. Traynor worked every moment of each round but Cruz should take this by Unanimous decision. If he lost a single round it may have been the first only because he waited too long to get started. 

After 4 rounds the judges see 40-36 x 3 all in favor of Calixto Cruz who leaves at 2-0 while Kevin Traynor drops to 1-2 (1). This was Cruz’ first time through the ropes since his debut in October of 2018 so getting the win, shaking off some rust and getting started with a new promoter were all priorities and mission accomplished on all three.

Bout 2, “Mighty” Joel Young, 134lbs, of Beltsville, MD, goes up against Michael “Primo” Didino, 134lbs, of North Providence, RI, in a 4 round lightweight bout. Didino fighting out of the southpaw stance, catching the jabs of Young. These two have started fast but lots of missing and falling into clinches so far. Young scores the best shots so far—two slashing left hooks as Didino rushes in. Young likely took that first round, not much landed by either fighter save for Mighty Joel Young’s left hooks that got Didino fighting behind a high guard in the final 30 seconds of the first. Very supportive crowd here for Didino who has a tattoo of PROVIDENCE all across his upper back. That looked like another round for Young who landed that cracking left hook again several times. Didino unable to get his offense started and he looks frustrated. Lots of clinching here and it’s hard to tell who’s initiating the majority of them. They end up so close together after each attempted exchange, clutching up seems to be the only option for both man. Didino scores a nice uppercut, finally, because he relaxed a bit and waited for an opening. Again, Didino scores with a straight left in the closing seconds of the third which likely earns him that round. Young landing lots of shots to the ribs of Didino. Blood streaming from the right eye of Didino, hard to tell if it was from a left hook or an accidental clash of heads. Mighty Joel Young clearly won this fight but it will be interesting to see if he comes away with the decision. 

This observer thought Didino won about 20 seconds of this four rounder but he comes away with the unanimous decision, the scorecards are 39-37, 40-36 x 2.

Michael Didino makes his pro debut, now 1-0 while Mighty Joel Young can certainly hold his up high tonight, now 0-2. 

Bout 3, Leonardo Ledeira, 175lbs, of Revere, MA faces the grandson of The Marvelous One, James Hagler, Jr. 173lbs, of Atlanta, GA in a four round light heavyweight contest.

Excellent first round for Ledeira who landed power shots from a distance on the southpaw Hagler. Ledeira danced his way to the ring to KC & The Sunshine Band’s “Boogie Shoes” and he discoed all over Hagler in that first who fought that opening round like he was underwater. Much better second round for Hagler who landed several jolting straight lefts and seemed to hurt Ledeira halfway through the round. Ledeira busier and effective with a slashing left hook but Hagler evened this fight up after 2. Ledeira comes out hard in the third round, stuns Hagler with a body shot. Hagler covers up and Ledeira lets his hands go, digging to the body of Hagler and he sends him to the canvas with a hard left hook to the ribs. Ref. Joey Lupino counts him out, giving Leonardo Ledeira the kayo victory at 1:08 of round number 3. 

Ledeira improves his record to 3-8 (3) while Hagler falls to 3-2 (1).

Bout 4, Robert Duran Jr, 155lbs, of Miami, FL goes up against Luis Eduardo Florez, 160lbs,  of Barranquilla, Colombia, in a 6 round middleweight bout. Flores lands a huge right hand that got Duran’s attention in the first minute of round one. No feeling out round for these two. Lots of heavy leather being exchanged. The southpaw Duran seemed to regain any lost ground by the end of the first, landing hard shots to the belly of the Columbian. Duran blasting away in round two but Florez is durable and returning fire. Duran spent more time in the orthodox stance in that second round. Both fighters looked a bit arm weary in the final thirty seconds of round two. Florez is incredibly durable and he’s absorbing a helluva lot of punishment but he hasn’t been down and it’s Duran who seems to be tiring with the effort. Duran fighting solely from the orthodox stance now so not sure what round one was about. Florez landing heavy, sweeping single shots with the right and left. Duran taking them well. Neither of these guys have been able to hurt each other yet. Florez is rugged as hell. His record is 26-26 going into this slug-o-rama. Duran just hit him with everything but his stool and Florez still connecting sporadically with hard overhand rights. Vinny Paz is sitting directly behind me and he just said of Florez “This is one tough prick. He’s got like 55 fights and he’s won every other fight. I hope he won his last one!” 

Florez looks to have wilted a bit now and Duran looks fresher but he’s being careful with his shots because Florez tends to punch with him. Wow, that was a fun, high impact brawl. Florez is exhausted but he was never off his feet and may have won the first.

After six rounds the scorecards are 59-55, 60-54 x 2 all in favor of Robert Duran Jr who improves his record to 12-3 (9) while the rugged Luis Eduardo Florez drops to 26-27 (21).

Bout 5,

Daisy Preston, 118lbs, of Manchester, ENG, faces the debuting Melanie “The Pitbull” Costa, 123lbs, of Providence, RI in a 4 round featherweight contest. Costa has a huge cheering section here in this converted theater. Costa roars out of her corner, attacking the body of her much taller opponent. Preston circles away but Costa drives her into a corner and puts her down with what seemed like a body shot. Preston being absolutely swarmed but she survived the first. She looks like she’s going to continue but she was absolutely overwhelmed in round one. Preston trying to get a jab out in front of her but Costa walks right through it. Preston is tough. Costa drives her to the canvas a second time, she takes a full nine count to rise. Ref Joey Lupino let’s it continue. Costa charges forward again, exploding with both hands and flattens Preston with what looked like a body shot. Ref. Joey Lupino halts the fight at 1:32 of round two with Preston on all fours, trying to catch her breath and not vomit. 

Melanie Costa enters the pro ranks at 1-0 (1) while Daisy Preston makes the long trek back to England at 0-6-1. 

Bout 6, Marcello Williams, 136lbs, of Orlando, FL, meets Kevin Walsh, 136lbs, of Brockton, MA, in a 6 round lightweight contest. Awkward, wild-swinging first that sees both fighters scoring with wide shots. Walsh looks a bit gassed in round two. His corner is shouting at him to get his hands up. Williams may have won that second round. Williams straightened his punches up in round two and had several successful charges. Walsh scores with a nice straight right to the middle of Williams to start the third. Williams is the aggressor and Walsh circling away in retreat. Walsh landed a decent combination in the final minute of the third but it wasn’t enough to undo what Williams had done in the first two thirds of the frame in this observer’s opinion. Walsh snaps the head of Williams back with a nice uppercut at the end of round four but he did more catching than he did pitching that round. Walsh seems to be the heavier-handed fighter here but he’s just not landing enough. Walsh needs a huge kayo if he hopes to walk out of here a winner on my card, he’s just done way too little punching here. Again, Williams is coming forward scoring with long snaking shots with either hand. Walsh has a solid chin but Williams keeps whacking at him. Walsh lands a hard left hook but follows up with absolutely nothing. He’s been breathing through an open mouth since the third. If there’s any justice at all in this scoring Williams should walk away with the decision, but we’ve already seen one example tonight that there isn’t.

After six, the ringside officials see it 59-55 x 2 58-56 all in favor of Kevin Walsh. Ugh.

Walsh improves to 9-0 (4) while Marcelo Williams drops to 4-18-1.

Bout 7, Wilson “Ill Will” Mascarenhas, 141lbs,of New Bedford, MA, battles Benjamin Lamptey, 140lbs, of Accra, Ghana in the co-main event, 6 rounds, junior welters. Huge crowd of supporters here for Mascarenhas who is coming back from being stabbed at a bar in New Bedford. Mascarenhas showing a lot more skill than has been displayed in a lot of these bouts tonight, jabbing his way in behind a high guard. Lamptey has a more relaxed, hands low style and he stands between rounds. Nice body shots from Mascarenhas. Lamptey seems to be the better judge of distance through two but it’s Mascarenhas landing all the punches, especially to the guts of Lamptey. Mascarenhas is bleeding from a cut over his left eye in round 3. Lamptey is sitting between rounds now. Lamptey landed a hard right in the middle of an exchange of shots that forced Mascarenhas to clinch, probably his best shot of the fight so far. Mascarenhas boxing well here, moving in and out, landing to the body and head, especially the body of Lamptey. Mascarenhas has Lamptey frustrated in round 5, the Ghanaian fighter has his hands at his sides, hoping to lure “Ill Will” into an exchange, something that seems ill-advised for the New Bedford boxer. Mascarenhas refuses to take the bait, still boxing smartly, stepping in, landing combinations and then rolling out. Sixth round coming up in what looks to be a shut-out for this locally celebrated fighter. Lamptey swings with a leaping left hook and catches nothing but air. A little more offense now from Lamptey which would have been a good idea 4 rounds ago. Mascarenhas shuts him down with a left-right to the guts followed by an uppercut to the head, a combination he’s used successfully often tonight. Double left hook from Mascarenhas lands forcing Lamptey to clinch. 

After six the judges see it 60-54 x 3 in favor of Wilson Mascarenhas who returns from a helluva lot more than a one year layoff, now 7-1 (2). Benjamin Lamptey drops to 13-10-2 (9). 

Bout 6, Alejandro Paulino, 134lbs, of New London, CT battles Jonathan Perez, 135, of Baranquilla, Columbia in the six round main event. Paulino lands first with a long straight right and Perez shakes his head to say “no, that didn’t hurt.” Paulino much faster, landing more often in round one. Perez seems a little stunned. Perez gets caught in the ropes, not ruled a knockdown. Perez is down in round 2. Looked as if their legs may have gotten tangled up but he was definitely under heavy fire from Paulino. He shakes his head to his corner, telling them he’s ok. Paulino looking very sharp, landing crisp, clean shots. Perez lands a heavy counter in the third and Paulino’s supporters utter a collective gasp. There’s an abrasion on the right cheek of Perez but that third saw him do his best work. It wasn’t enough to swing the round but he finally showed some offense. Paulino landed a huge right hand but Perez is cagey and he slid away and sank into these loose ropes and recovered. Perez is a ballsy guy, he lost that 4th big but sneaks in an Ali-shuffle in the final ten seconds trying to send the message that Paulino hasn’t rattled him. Paulino seems to be looking for a knockout here and his offense has dropped off dramatically. He may have been saving up some gas for the sixth and final round but he got away from the crisp aggressive boxing that’s been working very well in that 5th. Paulino opening up with both hands and scores a knockdown after a barrage of punches. Perez is allowed to continue but Paulino is all over him, blasting away with both hands. Perez sinks into a neutral corner and Ref. Ricky Gonzalez halts the bout at 2:12 of the final round. 


Elvis Figueroa Looks for Thirteenth Victory in as Many Fights Tomorrow Night in Greenwich

By Alex Pierpaoli

On Saturday night undefeated prizefighter Elvis Figueroa of New Haven, CT, meets Devaun Lee of Queens, NY, in an 8 round main event at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich CT. Figueroa-Lee is the featured attraction of a scheduled 8 bout card presented by Raja Boxing Promotions. Figueroa, currently 12-0 (8) will be making his first trip through the ropes this year and is looking for his 13th victory. After an excellent amateur career and a dozen victories since he turned professional in twenty-seventeen, super-middleweight Elvis Figueroa has already made his mark on the sport, especially when considering he was never really that interested in boxing in the first place.

“When I was a kid I didn’t do no sports in school,” the 26 year old confesses. “None, nothing at all. I would go to school, come home, eat, and play video games.” And it was that sedentary after-school tradition that brought him to boxing. 

“I never wanted to box to be honest,” he explains. “When I was young I was an obese kid. I was like 7 or 8 and a hundred eighty pounds or more…At the age of 8 that’s when I first entered, well, my dad put me into the gym, cuz like I said I never wanted to do it.”

Figueroa’s father sought help with his obese son from former boxer and current trainer Luis Rosa at his Boxing In Faith Gym in New Haven. “He asked him if [Luis] he could take me at the age I was and he said ‘yeah, I’ll take him.’ So I would go to the gym and like workout but like a lazy kid, a little chubby kid, Luis was like ‘do this and do this.’ And I would do it but not the way he wanted me to. I was there for some time and the weight never came off and then one day Luis said to me ‘I want you to write down all the stuff you eat.’ And I said ok. 

“So I brought in a list and it was like one page,” Figueroa smiles. “I showed it to him and he said ‘Naw, that’s not what you eat!’ So he wrote down a list and it was, front and back, like a regular sized page! And he said mark off what you eat, put a check next to it.”

Figueroa got honest about his food and brought the list back to trainer Luis Rosa. “I nearly checked off both sides. And he said ‘you see all this stuff you checked off, you gotta stop eating this stuff’ and he did it in front of my dad as well so my dad was like ok and my dad got real strict on me. He had me like on salad diets, six days a week, real strict diet. My dad was a strict parent but it was for the better of me. We did the list and after I started listening to what Luis was saying I started to see the weight come off. I was in the gym for four years, training, and sparring, I would get beat up everyday, bleed everyday, cry everyday. I was just in the gym for four years until I started to listen. So at 12 years old I had my first amateur fight.”

That’s when everything started to change for Figueroa and he discovered his love for the sport. 

“This is all I know how to do, literally. Boxing is my life. My dad put me in this, he said ‘this is what you’re gonna do to lose weight’ and I just fell in love with it. This is just me now.”

For Figueroa, his choice of weight-loss plan became a plan for life, a source of discipline and dedication.

“You gotta work hard If you want it to pay off,” Figueroa says of boxing. “You’ve gotta put in the work, you’ve gotta go through the fire and make sure you don’t cut no corners so that when you fight you feel good and you perform good and everything comes out good.”

That dedicated twelve-year old started to make good boxing as an amateur.

“In the amateurs I did a ton,” Figueroa explains. “I’ve won four golden gloves in a row, I won two nationals, I went overseas, to Russia and Ukraine…I never thought I could do all that.”

But what exactly was it about The Sweet Science that sparked his interest?

“I like the fact that, so much goes into it and you learn daily, you learn something new,” Figueroa nods, smiling. 

“If you really dedicate yourself to really training hard and actually learning, you can see it display itself. That’s what’s like mind-blowing to me…you don’t stop learning. You put your best effort into it and you see it unfold in front of you.”

Now in training camp with Luis Rosa at the new KOKing Boxing & Fitness Gym in East Haven, Elvis Figueroa has learned much in boxing, and sometimes he’s surprised himself.

“I’m not going to lie to you when I was in the [Olympic] Qualifiers I would think, am I going to be able to win this? But once I step into that ring that switch would flip and I’d do what I gotta do.”

That attitude brought him an amateur victory over current undefeated super middleweight Edgar Berlanga and landed him a spot as an alternate in the 2016 Olympics.

As to the future as a professional, Figueroa isn’t motivated by some specific opponent out there on the horizon, he’s motivated by the idea of becoming all Elvis Figueroa can possibly be. 

“I don’t have a dream fight,” he explains. “All I know is that I’m working to get up there to fight for a belt. I wanna be a world champion. That’s the motive of the sport, you wanna make it up there with the big boys. A dream fight I don’t have. I’m just focused on building my resume, building my career to get up there to where I can compete with elite fighters. I consider myself an elite fighter, but elite in that they have some top rankings and some belts. Whoever they put in front of me that I have to fight to have a belt. It’s all work at the end of the day. That’s how I look at it…As long as we can stay active, that’s the goal. We’re trying to get up there with top fighters and have our shot.”

As to tomorrow night’s opponent, Devaun Lee, 11-8-1 (6) of Queens, NY, Figueroa is ready for anything Lee may bring but he hasn’t seen more than a few clips of him on YouTube. To Figueroa watching an opponent’s previous bouts doesn’t matter much.

“Because what you look at in an old video might not be what he displays the night you step in the ring with him,” Figueroa says. “Once you get in the ring that’s a totally different ball game… I go in there to hurt you. That’s my job. My job is to hurt you before you hurt me. And that’s it. That’s just the sport. Anybody they put in front of me, I’m hitting hard.”

Devaun Lee has gone 8 rounds or more 6 times and has been stopped only once, by Shane Mosley Jr back in 2018. But Figueroa is ready for a distance fight if it comes and has experienced a gut-check fight of his own when he faced Ryan Adams in Orlando back in January of 2022.

“That one was like oh man, that was a teaching moment because you learn from every fight, you’re supposed to learn something new from every fight. And…you’ve really gotta be conditioned because it can be a long night sometimes. You can have a guy dazed or out a few times but some of them guys recover quick and keep going at it and that fight was like that. I got caught with one punch I didn’t see. We were engaging and he caught me with an uppercut. I wasn’t buzzed or see lights or nothing but I was like whoa, ok.”

Elvis Figueroa came away with a unanimous decision after 8 rounds that night and has scored two stoppage victories since. Tomorrow will mark his third time as the Main Event fighter and he likes that feeling. 

As to the video games he still enjoys, Call of Duty is Figueroa’s game of choice. He’s a fan of the Warzone game mode and prefers the UAV as a kill streak reward. “Yeah, it helps you and the team.”

“Listen man,” Figueroa laughs. “I just got a PC. I just upgraded from an Xbox to a PC. Boxing, don’t get me wrong, is my getaway. But video games are also my getaway, my other disconnect. I’m 26 years old but I still sit in front of that computer and play my life away like when I was a 13 year old boy at my mom’s house.”

Tomorrow night the war zone for Elvis Figueroa is twenty square feet of stretched canvas and he’s shown he can blast away with both hands in there just like he does in front of his PC.