Super featherweight Joseph “Chip” Perez returns to Holyoke for the June 25th “Homecoming” pro boxing card, presented by American Fighting Organization, at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke.
Another Holyoke boxer, veteran Derrick “Double Impact” Whitley (24-25-3, 11 KOs), returns to the ring for the first time in nearly four years versus Adam “Hitman” Harris (10-4, 7 KOs), of Worcester (MA), in the eight-round main event at a 190-pound catch-weight. Whitley has never been floored in 52 professional fights.
Boxing dates back to 1896 in Holyoke; Rocky Marciano made his pro debut there in 1947, and other Hall of Famers such as Willie Pep, Sandy Saddler, Beau Jack, Sixto Escobar and Fritzie Zivic, along with world champions Tony DeMarco, Paddy DeMarco, Lou Ambers and Lou Salica, fought in the western Massachusetts city where volleyball was invented in 1895. “Iron” Mike Tyson won a Golden Gloves title there in 1984, however, pro boxing hasn’t been held in Holyoke since 2000, which marked the only time in the past half-century.
Perez (5-1, 2 KOs) faces his stiffest test to date against a much more experienced Kevin Carmody (10-13, 1 KO) in the six-round co-feature. I’m very excited to fighting in the Boys & Girls Club where I learned how to fight when I was 12,” the 24-year-old former New England Golden Gloves champion said. “It’s awesome to be fighting in my hometown, where I was born and grew-up, and have so many family members and friends still living in Holyoke.”
Unlike his first five pro fights, Perez enters this match-up coming off of a loss, albeit by way of a third-round disqualification. “Chip” dropped fellow his undefeated (2-0) opponent, Esteban Nichol, but Perez was penalized for hitting Nichol when he was down on one knee.
“”I think that puts a little pressure on me,” Perez explained. “Everybody who saw it knows I lost, but that it was by disqualification because I made a mistake. On paper, they see a loss, and so do I. Maybe I shouldn’t think this way but I feel that I need to prove myself. I’ve trained very hard to show everybody that I wasn’t defeated by my opponent. I have to bounce back impressively, especially fighting at home on Holyoke.
“I know I can’t erase that loss, on paper, but I can do that in the minds of people who didn’t see what happened. Maybe deep down inside, I’m trying to prove to myself that I wasn’t defeated. Looking at that ‘1’ on my record bothers me. It’s like a mosquito who keeps biting you and you can’t kill him. It’s irritating.”
Fighting on the undercard in four-round bouts is pro debuting junior welterweight Jair “Da-Bully” Ramos, of Waterbury (CT), and Joel Alarcon (0-2), of New Bedford (MA), Holyoke light heavyweight Pedro “Tyson” Gonzales in his pro debut vs. George Perez (0-1-1), Springfield light heavyweight Reinaldo Graceski (1-0) vs. TBA, Springfield welterweights Jose Angel “KO” Ortiz (4-6-1, 1 KO) and Noel Garcia (2-9-1, 1 KO) throw-down, New Haven bantamweight Nate Green and Philadelphia’s John Lowery both make their pro debuts, and Springfield cruiserweight Jose Torres and Covon Graham will also be making their pro debuts. All bouts and fighters are subject to change.
Tickets are priced at $40.00, $50.00 and $100.00 and are available at or by calling (413.534.7366) the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke (70 Nick Cosmos Way), as well as going on line at www.afomma.com. Doors open at 6 PM/ET, first bout at 7 PM/ET.