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Woonsocket’s Soukhamthath part of Friday's MMA event at Twin River

June 13, 2012

Andre Soukhamthath, of Woonsocket, will compete in Friday's MMA event at Twin River. (photo/Ernest A. Brown)

WOONSOCKET — Andre Soukhamthath just wrapped up a very productive camp at Tri-Force MMA in Pawtucket.
The 24-year-old Woonsocket bantamweight will be fighting for the first time under the Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc. banner, and he’s a handful of pounds away from making his weight for his upcoming fight.
Now if only he had a scouting report on his opponent.
Soukhamthath will be fighting Vinny Tisconie of Shrewsbury, Mass. on the undercard of CES’s “Proving Grounds” show tomorrow night at the Twin River Event Center, and the only thing he really knows about his opponent is that he’s making his pro debut.
Tisconie will come into the fight with virtually no amateur experience, and a quick search for him and his background on Google comes up empty.
“I know he’s been training for a year, and he wants to go pro and not fight in the amateurs,” Soukhamthath said Wednesday morning. “(CES matchmaker) Pat (Sullivan) told me and (manager) Jamie (Thompson) that he’s a boxer, and he trains with another pro fighter, Ralph Johnson, but that’s it.
“Those are the guys that usually come out and start going for the knockout. That’s what I really have to be careful for, but I’m trying not to think about it too much. I’m just going to go in there and do what I’ve been trained to do this whole camp.”
And what a camp it was. Soukhamthath turned in a rock-solid three months of hard work at the Pawtucket compound with the Jeffrey brothers (and Tri-Force MMA owners), Peter and Keith, his father, Muay Lao coach William Soukhamthath, and his new boxing coach, David Keefe.
“My camp was great,” admitted Soukhamthath. “I feel a lot stronger. I never lifted weights before, but I did a new program for six weeks with Keith. I did strength training twice a week and now I feel like I punch harder, I feel like I kick harder, and my flexibility and cardio have gone up.
“My new coach, Dave, has been teaching me a lot of things and just keeping my mind right. I’ve been getting some work in with my father, and Peter’s also been teaching me a lot. The reason I won my last fight was because of him. He showed me that (guillotine) choke I used to win (the fight).”
A lot has changed for Soukhamthath since that fight back on Feb. 3 at Twin River, a submission triumph over Gilvan Santos that was Soukhamthath’s first in his two fights as a professional and saw his guillotine force Santos to tap out 44 seconds into the second round.
A month later, Soukhamthath became only the sixth MMA fighter to sign a promotional contract with CES, a deal which calls for him to fight four times over the next 18 months, starting with tomorrow’s fight.
And in addition to some of the new aspects of his just-completed camp, he also has an “Asian Sensation” fight t-shirt that will be on sale in the Twin River Event Center lobby, but has already been scooped up by some of his fans on his “Asian Sensation 1st CES Fight” Facebook page.
Soukhamthath also got to throw out the first pitch of Tuesday night’s game at McCoy Stadium between the Pawtucket Red Sox and Gwinnett Braves, and he’s also been plastered on posters and YouTube videos promoting the “Proving Grounds” show.
“I’m just really blessed and happy that a lot of people have supported me,” he said. “They’ll buy a ticket and they’ll buy a shirt too. I just want to keep getting better and higher and higher in this sport. I’m not getting a big head from all this or anything, but I’m not going to lie, it’s fun and it’s cool.”
Soukhamthath also reported that Thompson, who is also his fiancé, and her family will sell commemorative bracelets throughout the night to help raise awareness for Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare skin disorder that claimed the life of their nine-month-old son, LeAndre, in August, 2008.
The bracelets will also be on sale in the Twin River Event Center lobby, and the proceeds from the sales will benefit Befriend EB, a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to giving financial assistance to families and victims affected by the disease.
In addition to Soukhamthath, there will be another local fighter on the card, Pawtucket’s Keith Jeffrey, who will take a 7-2-1 record (with five victories via submissions) into his welterweight fight with Harley Beekman (4-1, 2 KOs) of Amsterdam, N.Y.
Jeffrey was the only area fighter out of the six who fought on the April 13 “Never Surrender” card at Twin River to come away with a victory, as he was a split-decision winner over Chip Moraza-Pollard of Plymouth, Mass., taking the three-round duel by close scores of 30-27, 28-29, and 30-27.
Beekman also appeared on the “Never Surrender” show and fought a Tri-Force MMA fighter in Providence’s Brennan Ward, a former All-American wrestling standout at Johnson & Wales University, in a battle of unbeatens.
Ward (2-0, 1 KO) used his superior grappling prowess and a high number of takedowns to cop a unanimous-decision victory and beat Beekman by scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.
R.I. fans will also be treated to a featherweight fight pitting Nate Andrews of Providence, who will make his professional debut, against Pedro da Silva (1-3, 1 KO) of Boston, Mass., and a lightweight contest between Joe Pingitore (1-0, 1 KO) of Johnston and newcomer Alan Beeman of Framingham, Mass.
Local fans will also surely keep an eye on bantamweight Billy Giovanella of Bellingham, Mass., who will make his pro debut against Santos (1-2), who hails from Framingham.
The main event is a lightweight duel between Abner Lloveras (14-6, 5 KOs) of Ludlow, Mass. and Ryan Quinn (8-3-1, 2 KOs) of New Fairfield, Conn., while another must-see fight is between featherweights Calvin Kattar (12-2, 7 KOs) of Methuen, Mass. and Chris Foster (4-2, 2 KOs) of Middletown, Conn.
Only $35 standing-room-only and $100 tickets remain for the show and can be bought by calling CES at 724-2253, going online at www.cesmma.com or www.twinriver.com, at visiting the Players Club booth at Twin River or any TicketMaster location.
The doors will open at 6 p.m., and the opening bout is scheduled for 7. Twin River also has waived its 18+ rule for the show, and anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and enter through the West entrance.

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