Power punching Joey “KO Kid” Spina is fighting his way out of a funk that started nearly two years ago when he lost his first pro fight, to Providence cross-town rival The Pride of Providence” Peter Manfredo, Jr., who, ironically, tops the August 22 “August Annihilator” pro boxing card that Spina is fighting on in the co-feature.
WBC rated No. 20 contender Manfredo, 30-5 (15), star of The Contender Season One, fights Donny “The Savage” McCrary, 24-7-2 (13), star of The Contender Season Three, in the 12 round main event for the NABF Interim super middleweight title, headlining “August Annihilator” at Twin River Events Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Spina, 22-1-1 (15), former USNBC and IBF Intercontinental super middleweight champion takes on former IBC Americas heavyweight title-holder Jim “Steel Chin” Strohl, 27-6 (21), of Las Vegas, in a six round super middleweight bout. Since his only loss to Manfredo, Spina has won three straight against Shannon Miller, Henry Mayes and David Whittom.
Now rated No. 12 by the WBO as a light heavyweight, Spina has rededicated himself and is working with a new head trainer, Jose Santos. “The loss started a downward spiral because I really didn’t think I’d lose,” Spina explained.
“And I broke my hand in that fight. Now, I’m focused on my career, living back at home in Providence (rather than Las Vegas), and fighting to get back to where I was. It was tough fighting in six round bouts after being in 10 and 12 round fights.
"I made six figures (vs. Manfredo) and then I was fighting for a few thousand. I was fighting at 176 and I’m making my way back to super middleweight. This fight is at 170. I fought a long time at 168 and I think I’m stronger at that weight, but I’m rated at light heavyweight, and I’ll fight anywhere between 168 and 175.
“This is a big fight for me. Strohl’s 27-5 with 21 knockouts. He’s a big puncher who has come down from heavyweight. I boxed him a lot when I lived in Las Vegas. He’s slow but very strong and always in great shape. I know all about him and I’m a better boxer.
"I’m going to win impressively, if not by knockout, I’ll outbox him badly. He’s going to be right in front of me and he’ll keep coming. I have to sit down on my punches. I haven’t been getting as many knockouts because the opposition has been better than the guys I fought earlier in my career. I can still put people to sleep.”
On the undercard in a pair of six-round super middleweight bouts, Rhode Island super middleweight Angel Camacho, Jr., 10-0 (4), puts his undefeated record on the line against Brooklyn’s Ariel Espinal, 6-3-2 (2), while Providence favorite Bobo “The Bull” Starnino, 9-4-1 (2), faces Lowell, MA, brawler “Irish” Joey McCreedy, 8-2 (5) in an old fashioned throw-down.
Also on the undercard card is undefeated middleweight prospect Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez, 7-0 (5), former two-time U.S. national amateur champion out of Worcester, MA, squaring off against Marcus “Team Savior” Upshaw, 8-2 (3), in a six-round bout.
Former world title challenger, Greek featherweight Sandy “Lil’ Tyson” Tsagouris, 7-1 (3), takes on Adawirky Lopez, 1-0, who is a Pan-Am Games gold medal winner, in another six-round match.
Providence junior welterweight Jesus Caro, 1-0 (1), tangles with pro debuting Clarence Smith in a four rounder. Providence junior lightweight Omar Pena, who was a 9-time New England Golden Gloves champion, managed by Gary “Tiger” Balletto, fights an opponent to be determined. All bouts and fighters are subject to change.
“August Annihilator” part is promoted by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports, Inc. (CES), in association with Twin River, The Tournament of Contenders, and CN8, The Comcast Network. The show will be taped live and air Saturday, August 23 at 7:30 PM/ET on CN8, The Comcast Network as well as Cox Sports Television.
Tickets for “August Annihilation” are priced at $40.00, $50.00 (Bronze), $75.00 (Silver), $100.00 (Gold) and $150.00 (Jimmy’s Platinum Club SOLD OUT) and are available to purchase by calling CES (401.724.2253/2254), going on line at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, at the Twin River Events Center (100 Twin River Road, Lincoln, RI), at the Players Club booth (2nd floor) at Twin River, or any TicketMaster location.
Tickets are also on sale at Manfredo’s Gym in Pawtucket (RI), 401 Gym in Cranston (RI), Rivera Brother’s in Lynn (MA), Balletto’s Gym in Providence, Big Six Academy in Providence, and Larry Army (508.407.5152).
Contact CES (401.724.2253/2254/www.cesboxing.com) or Twin River Events Center (877.82.RIVER/ www.twinriver.com) for more information. Doors open at 6 PM/ET, first bout at 7 PM/ET.
Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “August Annihilation.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied at all times by an adult and they must enter through the West entrance.