Three-time world title challenger “Sucra” Ray Oliveira steps into the ring Saturday night (Oct. 2) for the first time in five years against WBA No. 6 rated light heavyweight contender Joey “K.O. Kid” Spina in the 10-round main event headlining the “Last Man Standing” card in Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.
“Last Man Standing” is being presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports, Inc. (CES), in association with Foxwoods Resort Casino.
“Ray came to me saying he wanted to make a comeback to get three more wins to retire with 50,” promoter Jimmy Burchfield explained. “Ray Oliveira is a real warrior, one of my favorite fighters, so I told him to get 100-percent cleared medically and I’d make it happen for him.
"He did get cleared, but Ray didn’t want an easy fight. He doesn’t have one, either – far from it. Joey Spina is one of the biggest punchers, pound-for-pound, in boxing. But that’s what Ray wanted and he’s looked great in the gym.”
“My career really took off when Jimmy Burchfield started promoting me,” Oliveira noted. “I went to Mr. B telling him what I wanted to do and he said for me to just get cleared. I started with him and I’m going to finish with him. I want to win my 50th but against tough opponents. I love Joey; he’s a good friend, but business is business. I’ve fought friends before.
"Kevin Kelly and I were on the national team for three years. We were very close friends, like brothers, but I had to move up in weight and ended up fighting him. We both said, “Let’s do it,” and we had a war. I lost the first fight by one point and we fought again the next two years, too. We were still good friends after the fights. Hey, I’d fight my mother if I had to. Just put somebody in front of me and I’ll hit ‘em.
“I’m already on weight – 168 pounds. Joey knows I always give 100 percent and he better know that he can’t get away with being only 80 percent against me. I have nothing to lose. All I have to do is go 10 rounds. I’m going 10 and winning the fight.
"Joey’s already lost this fight. He can’t look me in the eyes in stare downs and he’s talking about fighting MMA. He already has plan B for after our fight when he loses. All of the pressure’s on him because when he loses, his boxing career is over, which is why he’s talking MMA. He knows.”
Oliveira, 41, established ESPN records for most punches thrown in a fight and the popular boxer also was a former IBU welterweight, NABF light welterweight and New England lightweight champion.
Oliveira defeated former world champion Vince Phillips at Foxwoods in 2000 and also holds victories against former world titlist Charles Murray (twice), as well as Saul Duran, Vivian Harris, and Tracy Spann. “Sucra” is battle-tested, having been in against world champions Ricky Hatton, the late Vernon Forrest, Jake Rodriquez and Zack Padilla.
Spina (25-1-2, 17 KOs), fighting out of Providence, puts his undefeated Foxwoods record (6-0, 5 KOs) on the line, fighting at Fox Theater for the first time since his signature victory to date in 2006 against Jesse Brinkley, former star of The Contender, Season One television reality show.
Spina stopped Jesse Brinkley with a vicious body shot in the 11th round of a fight Joey trailed so badly he needed a knockout to win. Brinkley is now preparing to challenge IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute for the world title Oct. 15. Spina, who is coming off of a 10-round draw last October against former world champion Lou Del Valle, also holds wins against former world champion Carl Daniels, Jay Pina and Anwar Oshana.
“Boxing has been losing fans because boxers just want to do the business part – they didn’t want to fight!” Oliveira concluded. “They want a sure win and always ask about the money, what color gloves – really, what color gloves? Let’s fight…that’s the kind of guy I am. I didn’t want an easy fight, no catch weights, just give me the fight.
"All that should really count is pleasing the crowd and that’s what I’ve really missed. It’s also what I want to bring back to boxing. MMA isn’t more exciting than boxing but MMA gives its fans what they want and they buy it. When I fight, I fight, and there’s no holding in there. I’m licking my chops for this fight.”
New England super middleweight champion Vladine “Mr. Providence” Biosse (8-0, 4 KOs), a former University of Rhode Island football player, faces upset specialist Ariel “Iron” Espinal (8-15-3, 4 KOs) the 6-round, non-title fight co-feature.
Fighting on the undercard in 4-round bouts are David Bauza (5-0, 3 KOs), of Hartford, vs. Chris “Freightrain” Overby (9-13, 2 KOs); New Haven super lightweight Edwin Soto (4-0-1, 2 KOs) vs. Trenton Titsworth (3-9-1, 2 KOs); Stamford (CT) light heavyweight Ahmad Mickens (1-0) vs. Naseem Dean (2-2); hometown favorite Karen Dulin (1-6), a super bantamweight from nearby Mystic, vs. Katarina “Kat” De La Cruz (0-4-1).
New Haven super middleweight Greg McCoy (1-1-1) vs. Reynaldo Rodriguez (5-1, 2 KOs), fighting out of Woonsocket (RI); Hartford super featherweight Joseph “Chip” Perez (4-0, 1 KO) vs. Ernest Butts III (0-1); Byfield (MA) featherweight Derek Silveira (2-0, 1 KOs) vs. Phillip Bernette (0-1); and New Haven’s promising featherweight prospect Luis Rosa Jr. (3-0, 2 KOs) vs. TBA. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Tickets, priced at $40.00, $60.00 and $100.00, are available to purchase by calling CES (401.724.2253/2254) or Foxwoods (800-200-2882), going online at www.cesboxing.com or www.foxwoods.com, or in person at Foxwood’s box office.
For more information contact CES (401.724.2253/2254/www.cesboxing.com) or Foxwoods Resort Casino (www.foxwoods.com). Doors open at 6:00 PM/ET, first bout at 7:00 PM/ET.