LINCOLN --- It will certainly be “Game On” for four fighters with local ties to the Blackstone Valley this weekend when Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc. hosts an action-packed card at the Twin River Events Center.
Pawtucket middleweight Thomas Falowo will make his co-feature debut in an eight-round showdown, and Woonsocket super middleweight Joe Gardner will try to erase the sting of a close loss in May to Richard Gingras in a six-round battle.
Speaking of Gingras, a Pawtucket resident and the owner and head trainer of the Fight 2 Fitness health club in Pawtucket, he will appear in the main event and duel Providence’s Vladine Biosse, a boxing instructor at the Woonsocket Boys’ & Girls’ Club.
The eight-round clash will be for Biosse’s New England super middleweight title, which he has successfully defended three times since capturing the belt in 2010.
Biosse will carry a 15-2-1 (7 KOs) record into his bout with Gingras (13-3, 8 KOs), who has won his last three fights and five of his last six.
An interesting sidebar to this fight: Biosse’s former trainer, Orlando Valles, is now Gingras’s trainer. Biosse and Valles parted ways earlier this year after working together for the last eight years.
Falowo (10-1, 7 KOs), who is coming off an impressive unanimous-decision win over previously-undefeated prospect Tylon Burris, hopes to add another strong showing to his credentials when he takes on Chris Chatman (10-2-1, 5 KOs) of Jersey City, N.J.
Chatman has already added some fuel to the fire by saying in a press release issued by CES that he plans to “overwhelm” Falowo and “win convincingly or with a knockout,” but Falowo isn’t biting on Chatman’s words.
“It is what it is,” said Falowo. “Talking doesn’t really bother me much at all. I expect him to do more talking at the press conference and the weigh-in.”
“But I’m going to go in there and do what I do. He’s a solid fighter, he can box and he’s pretty strong too, but I feel like I’m faster and I can box better.”
Prior to learning of his matchup with Chatman, Falowo was mainly sparring with southpaws, such as super featherweight prospect Toka Kahn-Clary, at Manfredo’s Fitness Center in Narragansett.
“This fight just fell into place for me,” admitted Falowo. “Luckily I’ve been sparring with southpaws, and I’ve been helping Toka get ready for his fight next month. (The sparring) is going to help.”
So will be fighting at Twin River. This will be his eighth straight bout at the Lincoln casino, and he’s won his last four, with three of his victories worthy of ‘Fight of the Night’ status.
“It definitely feels good to be one of the featured fighters now,” he offered. “This fight could easily be the main event. Hopefully I can keep performing well and then maybe soon I’ll be in a main event.”
Gardner (11-6-1, 1 KO) will battle Russell Lamour (4-0, 2 KOs) of Portland, Maine in a bout that was changed earlier in the week. Gardner was originally supposed to take on Alexander Mancera (8-5-1, 5 KOs) of Queens, N.Y., but Mancera pulled out of the fight after breaking his nose last weekend.
Fighting unbeaten prospects has become somewhat of a yearly tradition for Gardner. Three years ago, he ended a long 7½-year layoff from the sport by fighting Biosse, who was 5-0 at the time, and the following year, he took on 2008 U.S. Olympian Shawn Estrada, who is currently 15-0 with 13 KOs.
While Gardner lost both those fights, he picked up one of the biggest wins of his career last November by topping Providence’s Alex Amparo, who was 5-0, via a six-round unanimous decision.
Gardner will try to duplicate his success from that fight into Saturday’s duel, which is expected to take place before Falowo’s co-feature with Chatman.
Lamour, who is three inches shorter than Gardner, turned pro last November after a long amateur career and is just a full week removed from an opening-round TKO in Salem, N.H. over Aquilano Brandao, who was making his pro debut.
“I don’t know a lot about him,” Gardner added of Lamour. “I’ve watched a lot of his fights on YouTube. He’s long and kinds of leans on you a little bit. He fights a lot like Alex did. He tries to get inside and muscle you a little bit, but he’s smaller than be, so he’s not going to be muscling me. I’ll actually be the bigger, stronger guy for once.”
Gardner, who comes into the fight with victories in four of his last six bouts, will mark the toughest challenge in Lamour’s young career. Not only will he be the most experienced fighter Lamour has faced, but the combined record of Lamour’s four fighters he defeated is 10-14-1.
Lamour, who is normally a middleweight, will also step up a weight class to fight Gardner, who has been accustomed to fighting opponents larger in size than him throughout his career.
“His four fights have been against real soft competition,” remarked Gardner. “I haven’t fought a soft guy in years.”
Gardner, who has been hard at work with his trainer, Bob Moreau, since his defeat to Gingras, had put in some extra work in preparing for Mancera, but with a new opponent to deal with, Gardner doesn’t plan to change anything.
“I’m just going to do what I normally do,” he said. “I’ve been training for a really busy fight because Mancera’s a really busy fighter. I’ve been getting a lot of sparring from Vlad and a couple of other guys and I’ve had some good work with them.”
Only $41 tickets are available for the show and can be purchased by calling CES at 401-724-2253/2254, going online at www.shop.cesboxing.com  or www.twinriver.com , or visiting the Players Club booth at Twin River or any TicketMaster location.
Follow Eric Benevides on Twitter @EricBen24