Jimmy Burchfield has been a respected promoter not just in the New England area but in the entire country for three decades.
His Classic Entertainment and Sports (CES) is known for putting on compelling matchups not often seen at the local level, and that holds true for their “Winter Brawl” card that takes place tonight (Saturday night) at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville Connecticut.
The card has ten fights in total, all matched well and the fans in attendance this weekend are in for a treat.
The card is headlined by a ten-round junior middleweight showdown that has the talent level to fit on any major televised card.
Both Chordale Booker (21-1, 10 KOs) and Greg Vendetti (23-5-1, 12 KOs) have been featured on PBC broadcasts in the past and the winner of this fight asserts himself as a legit contender and will be at the front of the line for a big opportunity later this year.
Booker made a name for himself as an amateur, winning a national title and qualifying for the US Olympic Trials.
Vendetti was a 2012 Central New England Golden Gloves champion and has made his bones more as a pro. Back in 2020 he fought Erislandy Lara (29-3-3, 17 KOs) for the WBA junior middleweight title belt.
They have both had their fair share of success in the paid ranks.
Booker is the reigning WBC USA 154lb titleholder and holds a top 15 world ranking, whereas Vendetti in the past has been the USA New England 154lb champion, as well as holding IBA and WBC silver titles.
Neither man lacks confidence, as they both claim that the other is below their level and they plan on showing that come fight night.
Rising junior lightweight Alejandro Paulino (15-0, 13 KOs) will be in with what is on paper his toughest opponent to date D’Angelo Keyes (17-3, 11 KOs) in an eight-round battle.
Keyes is two years older and though he is coming off a loss it was on a Golden Boy show against Oscar Duarte (26-2-1) who went on to fight Ryan Garcia in his next fight.
A win puts him right back in the mix for a chance to fight on another big show.
A win for Paulino, especially if it can be done in impressive fashion, would be a major statement and would have him firmly on the national radar at 130lbs.
Paulino is a multi-time New England Golden Gloves champion in the elite division, and Keyes fought his way into the 2017 National Golden Gloves quarter-finals so this is certainly a fight to keep an eye on.
Angel Gonzalez (12-0, 7 KOs) and Christian Robles (8-1, 3 KOs) are opposite each other in an intriguing eight-round flyweight affair.
Gonzalez was a New England Golden Gloves elite division champion in 2014 and 2018 and boxed his way into the final eight of the 2010 USA National Championships. Robles learned more on the fly in the pro game and fought valiantly last time out on a Matchroom card in his first career loss against rising phenom Yankiel Rivera Figueroa (4-0, 2 KOs).
This is set to be a stiff test for Gonzalez, and with the 112lb not having an abundance of notable contenders the winner sets themselves up well for a potential bigger payday.
The vacant WBC USA Silver featherweight title will also be on the line Saturday night, and both Ricky de Los Santos (11-1, 3 KOs) and Nathan Martinez (8-2, 2 KOs) are eager to duke it out for the strap.
Martinez is a two-time New England Golden Gloves elite champion and was a member of the 2014 USA Junior Olympics.
De Los Santos was a 2012 New England Golden Gloves champion in the novice division and has the advantage in experience notching multiple wins against winning opposition.
This is looked at as a 50/50 fight and should entertain the fans in attendance at Mohegan Sun.
Another vacant WBC USA silver title is also on the line, this one in the middleweight division. Francis Hogan (15-0, 14 KOs) has been gaining momentum in the New England area recently and this title shot could be just the beginning of many titles to come.
Hogan was a 2020 US Olympic alternate and is coming into form as a pro and is turning the page from prospect to contender.
He will be in with Colombian Dormedes Potes (14-5-1, 10 KOs), who has taken the “0” from undefeated fighters before so Hogan will have to be on his game.
He trains alongside Abraham Nova (23-1, 16 KOs) who fights O'Shaquie Foster (21-2, 12 KOs) for his WBC super featherweight title in two weeks, and has gained inspiration seeing a teammate strive for a lifelong goal and hopes to be on a similar trajectory.
A win here is a great start, and I see big things on the horizon for the 23-year-old Hogan.
Kevin Walsh (10-0, 4 KOs) will be defending his New England 130lb title against Darrell Rivera (9-2-1, 7 KOs) of Puerto Rico.
Walsh, a Brockton, Massachusetts native, looks to follow in the footsteps of the great champions in the past such as Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler.
Walsh got a later start to the sport compared to most, but his work ethic has put him in the position that he is in today.
Rivera is the winningest opponent of Walsh's career to date, and the winner of this bout not only goes home with the New England title but also puts themselves in the conversation for a bigger payday on a televised show under a major promotion.
Also featured on the card is a six-round bantamweight bout between Carlos Vanegas (6-1, 5 KOs) and Jaden Webb (2-1, 2 KOs), a four-round middleweight contest between James Maner (4-0, 2 KOs) and Miguel Torres (2-0, 2 KOs), and a four-round cruiserweight fight pitting Slawomir Bohdziewicz (2-0, 2 KOs) of Poland against Bruno Saraiva (0-1).
The last fight that I want to cover opening up the night is a heavyweight four-rounder that has show-stealing potential.
Chad Leoncello (1-1-1, 1 KOs) will be in with Harold Roy (0-1).
Leoncello is also a gym owner who has an inspiring story that is worth looking into.
He is the latest example of boxing being a “lifesaver” and has said that this could be his last pro bout as he shifts his attention to his gym and being a mentor for the younger generation.
From top to bottom, this card should deliver and I am excited to be fortunate enough to be in the building on fight night to witness it.
As I stated earlier, Jimmy Burchfield has been one of the most highly thought of local promoters in all of America since he founded CES Boxing in 1987 and has earned the reputation as the “heart and soul of boxing in New England.”
Cards like this “Winter Brawl” event are the reason why.