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Gravedigger James Perkins Digging His Way To Top In New England Boxing Circles - “Fight Night At The Vets Club”

On June 10th In Bridgewater, Mass.!

(L-R James Perkins and his head coach Joe Ricciardi)

(May 30th) Unbeaten Lynn super middleweight prospect James “Pitbull” Perkins (11-0-1, 8 KOs) is a powerful fighter who has developed his upper body strength in an unusual manner as a gravedigger.


The 30-year-old Perkins faces Texas veteran Larry “Slo Mo” Smith (13-53-2. 9 KOs) Saturday night, June 10th, in a six-round bout on the “Fight Night at the Vets Club” card, presented by Granite Chin Promotions’ (GCP), at the Veterans Club in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.


Perkins, who has worked the past three years at Lynn’s St. Joseph’s Cemetery, agrees that his job has indeed helped him as a prizefighter.


“It definitely works for sure,” Perkins said. “It’s not all digging like it was in the past in cemeteries. We use a backhoe now, but there are places it can’t be used, so we still dig a lot.”


A hockey player at St. Mary’s High School in Lynn, Perkins turned to boxing when he graduated in 2011 when he didn’t receive a hockey scholarship from any college he was interested in playing for.


“I got into another intensive labor job working on a lobster boat,” he explained. “But I needed to get back into a sport. When I was 19, Stu Randall – he now works my corner – brought me to a gym in Saugus. I met Joe Ricciardi and he became my head trainer. I was 5-1 as an amateur and figured I’d go pro.”


Lynn is experiencing a boxing rebirth, of sorts. Danny Avery was a gifted Lynn fighter back in the early 1980s who trained under the famed Petronelli brothers in Brockton (they trained Marvelous Marvin Hagler), but the Ellis family presently rules Lynn boxing today with top 10 ranked welterweight “Speedy” Rashidi Ellis (24-1, 15 KOs), Ronald “Akeem” Ellis (18-3-2, 12 KOs) and their sister, Rashida Ellis, a 2020 U.S. Olympian boxer. Perkins represents the latest wave of promising boxers from the city located north of Boston.


“There’s also a 16-year-old from Lynn, Malik Johnson, who trains where I do at Broadway Boxing Club in Everett,” Perkins added. “He’s going to be a good fighter. I know about the Ellis family, and I do feel a little pressure coming from Lynn. But I’m up to the task!


“I’m lucky to have the support I have, mostly from Lynn,” Perkins concluded. “They’ve traveled all over to my fights and I suspect they’ll travel to Bridgewater as well,”


From a hockey rink to a lobster boat, Perkins is now digging his way to the top of the New England Boxing rankings.


“James is a great guy, and he always makes for an exciting fight,” GSP president Chris Traietti commented. “”We are honored to have him on another one of our cards. He is stepping in with an experienced guy on June 10th who I anticipate will test him a bit. On top of being an exciting fighter watch, he brings a passionate fan-base that will be loud and proud in Bridgewater.”


Julien “Black Dragon” Baptiste (4-2, 2 KOs), of Woburn (MA), and New Hampshire’s Ryan Thomas Clark (2-3. 1 KO) throw-down in the six-round main event for the vacant United States Boxing Federation (USBF) middleweight title.


Also slated to fight on the “Fight Night at the Vets Club” are former New England Welterweight Champion Mike “Bad Man” Ohan, Jr. (17-2, 9 KOs), of Holbrook (MA), 2020 USA Boxing Elite National Champion Arika Skoog (1-0-1, 1 KO), of Roxbury (MA), unbeaten Lynn (MA).super middleweight James “Pitbull” Perkins (11-0-1, 8 KOs), and Scituate (MA) heavyweight Kevin Nagle (1-0,1 KO). 


Tickets are priced at $60.00 (floor seats), $40.00 (standing room only), and $400.00 for ringside tables of 4 are available for purchase just (click here).


Doors open at 6:30 p.m. ET, first bout at 7 p.m. ET.


About Granite Chin Promotions

Granite Chin Promotions is the fastest growing boxing promotion in New England.


Granite Chin Promotions is New England’s fastest-growing boxing promotion. Headed by Chris Traietti, Granite Chin Promotions is committed to giving local fans action-packed fight cards and developing fighters to reach their full potential.

Heavyweight Kevin Nagle Fighting For His 4 Children

“Fight Night at the Vets Club”

On June 10th In Bridgewater, Mass.!

(May 22nd) Heavyweight Kevin Nagle (1-0, 1 KO), fighting out of Scituate (MA), has certainly taken a circuitous route to professional boxing.


The 39-yr-old Nagle will be in action Saturday night, June 10th, in a four-round match against Reinaldo Souza (0-1) on the “Fight Night at the Vets Club” card, presented by Granite Chin Promotions’ (GCP), at the Veterans Club in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

(L-R) – Kevin Nagle, Zach Calmus & Steve Vukosa)

Nagle, who started boxing when he was 10, made his professional debut this past February in Melrose (MA), stopping Aquilla Prote in the second round.


Boxing was put to the side by Nagle when he played high school football at South Shore Regional Vocational Technical, and then while he played rugby after he graduated from high school, prior to him joining the National Guard at 20 and going to boot camp.


He wanted to pick up boxing again upon his return home from camp and reconnected with some of his coaches from his early days at the Pembroke Boxing Club, after which he started training at the famed Petronelli Gym in Brockton. Kevin had a brief amateur boxing career, highlighted by him reaching the semifinals of the New England Golden Gloves.


In 2006, he was deployed to Kosovo and then he volunteered for a six-months stint in Iraq when his company was deployed there. Once his National Guard commitment was fulfilled, he joined Local 223 as a laborer.


Later, he took CNA classes and Kevin was responsible for dementia care at the Veterans Administration (VA). He attended nursing school and has been a psychiatric nurse for the past eight years at the Brockton VA.


Nagle wanted to box again and after local boxer/trainer Mark DeLuca hooked him up in 2014 with Steve Vukosa (14-1-1, 5 KOs), a former New England Heavyweight Champion, and Kevin has been Steve’s primary sparring partner ever since.


But why did it take so long for Nagle to join pro boxing’s ranks?


“I had kids, and my wife didn’t let me fight,” Nagle explained. “When we separated, my first call was to Steve, not a lawyer, and I told him it was time to get back into boxing and I needed to get into shape. Steve introduced me to (promoter) Chris Traietti, who I had watched fight, and he said he’d get me one fight. Boxing has helped me be focused with all I’m going through.


“My goal with Steve was for me to go pro. I wanted to accomplish that for my kids and accomplished it. Anything that happens now in boxing is like having a cherry on top. I wanted to show my kids that I didn’t give up on my dream. I wanted to be a soldier and did that, too. My overall goal is to work my way up to a competitive fight. I’m just a crazy, old guy working in the gym with Steve and Martin Grealish. This experience is keeping me centered, I’m not trying to take over the boxing world.”


“When Steve Vukosa first approached me about Kevin turning pro,” Traietti added, “I didn’t really take it overly serious at first, but I knew Kevin. I sincerely liked him on a personal level, so I gave him a call and we chatted. Once he told me about his current situation, I knew he was serious, and this was important to him. He is 39 years old and doesn’t have any aspirations of some long career, but he wants an opportunity to get on a big card and get the experience of fighting on a national stage. Fortunately, for him, that is exactly what I can do for my guys. The plan is to keep him active in 2023 with a handful of fights and get him the big experience he is looking for in 2024.”

Celebrated Amateur Arika Skoog

Balancing Life As Pro Boxer!

(May 15th) One of New England’s all-time greatest female boxers, Boston lightweight Arika Skoog (1-0-1, 1 KO), is balancing her life as a prizefighter. She returns to action June 10th on “Fight Night at the Vets Club” card, presented by Granite Chin Promotions’ (GCP), at the Veterans Club in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

(Arika Skoog (center wearing LFG Boxing t-shirt)

is shown after sparring with world champion Katie Taylor)

The 29-year-old Skoog was a dynamic Olympic-style boxer who captured top honors at the 2020 USA Boxing Elite National Championship, as well as three times in the New England Golden Gloves Tournament. Fighting out of Boston, she trains at Nonantum Boxing Club in Newton, Massachusetts.


“When Arika’s trainer, Nico Gargaro, reached out to me about putting her on the show,” Granite Chin Promotions president Chris Traietti commented, “I was thrilled. All of Nico’s fighters come to fight, bring a crowd, and put on a show. I don’t expect things to be any different with Arika. She has a great amateur pedigree and comes from an awesome gym. I am honored to play a small part in her journey and hopefully becoming a champion.”


A 2020 USA Boxing Olympic Team alternate for Olympic bronze medalist Oshae Jones, Skoog spent most of 2020 traveling as a member of Team USA, after winning the USA Olympic Trials, resulting in a challenging transition period when she returned home to live.


She could have remained an amateur and taken a shot of making the Team USA Olympic Boxing Team and qualifying for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. “I came home and needed to get focused. I was almost 30 and needed to get my life on track. I needed to pay rent and loved boxing. It turned pro to balance my career and box. I needed to be more grounded for my future.”


Skoog, who faces Sarah “Switch Kick” Click (1-4-1, 0 KOs) in a six-round bout, earned her master’s degree in business from Holt International Business school in Cambridge (MA). She works for Wayfair, but soon hopes to join the Newton Fire Department having recently received her EMT license.


Arika never should have taken her second pro fight, last January in Boston versus pro-debuting Dupe Akinola, which ended in a four-round draw.


“Because of my resume (amateur background),” she explained, “it wasn’t easy finding an opponent. I ended up fighting a last-minute replacement nobody knew about. I didn’t know until between rounds, when the ring announcer said that she (Akinola) was 40-0 as an amateur (from Nigeria). I had a lot going on and didn’t want to take the fight. I’m not saying I didn’t want to fight a real fighter. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty and I was lucky to pull out a draw. If it had been a six-round fight, I would have won that fight, and that’s why I wanted this one (coming fight) to be six rounds.


“I wasn’t used to two-minute rounds in the pros. I’m in a better place now. I’m a boxer who loves to fight on the outside, but the big difference in the pros is working from a closer distance, which will give me more power punching. It’s exciting.”


Although she still learning in the pro ranks, Skoog is determined to make a statement in her upcoming fight and develop into one of New England’s top female prizefighters.


“I want to be No. 1 in my division, especially in New England,” she concluded. “I want to turn the skills I developed in the amateurs into a pro style. I’m still learning in the pros. I want to showcase my skills and show the world what I’m capable of.”

Mike “Bad Man” Ohan, Jr.

In Stay-Busy Fight To Get To Next Level!

(May 8th) Holbrook junior welterweight Mike “Bad Man” Ohan, Jr. (17-2, 9 KOs) may be fighting for the last time on a local-based show, June 10th on “Fight Night at the Vets Club” card, presented by Granite Chin Promotions’ (GCP), at the Veterans Club in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.


A former New England welterweight champion, Ohan faces William Parra Smith (4-14-1, 3 KOs), of Alaska, in a scheduled eight-round bout.


The main event pits Julien “Black Dragon” Baptiste Baptiste (4-3, 2 KOs), of Woburn (MA), versus Ryan Thomas Clark (2-3, 1 KO), of Barrington (NH), in a six-round throwback New England rivalry match for the vacant United States Boxing Federation (USBF) middleweight title.

Ohan fought on his highest platform to date last December, when he lost to 2020 U.S. Olympian Delante “Tiger” Johnson (6-0) in a fight streamed live on ESPN+ from famed Madison Square Garden. Although he lost, Ohan enjoyed the overall experience, and he’s looking forward to fighting more on the road in key match-ups.


“I was offered to fight on this club show and then take a bigger fight next, or wait for a bigger fight,” Ohan explained. “I took this stay-busy fight to be active and keep pushing, but guys like this are hungry, even if his record isn’t good. He has nothing to lose.


“I’m ready to take the next step. Whenever my promoter (Chris Traietti) tells me I have a big fight offer, I won’t hide from any of the bigger names. I want to get tested and surprise people. I like being the underdog.”


“I felt as though it was best to keep Mike busy,” Traietti added. “Anytime you put a fighter in the ring, you are taking a risk, but as long as it is a calculated risk then it’s the responsible decision. When the time comes for Mike to get back on the big stage, I don’t want him rusty, coming off a long layoff. With that said, William Parra smith isn’t a pushover. He just went six hard rounds on my show in February against a guy with a ton of international experience. He comes to fight, and I plan on pushing Mike. You can call whatever you want, a ‘tune-up’ fight, ‘stay busy’ fight. At the end of the day, it is a fight. Mike has to get through this one victoriously. Then the next move will be something big.”


Ohan has stayed busy, working days as a painter for Ohan Painting, evenings training hard in the gym to get ready for his fight. There are advantages and disadvantages of fighting close to home.


“I haven’t thought too much about this, maybe it being my last fight close to home,” Ohan said. “It probably won’t hit me until after the fight. I felt good fighting on a bigger platform. I enjoy traveling and fighting people in different areas. It’s tough selling when you’re making weight, too, It’s added stress. But I love fighting locally, too. Maybe I’ll be in a big fight on the East Coast.”

Julien “Black Dragon” Baptiste

Adjusting To Performance Anxiety In Ring!

(May 3rd) Julien “Black Dragon” Baptiste has been suffering performance anxiety in the ring, which has left him in a precarious position heading into his June 10th main event fight headlining “Fight Night at the Vets Club”, presented by Granite Chin Promotions’ (GCP) at the Veterans Club in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.


Baptiste (4-3, 2 KOs), of Woburn (MA), is matched against Ryan Thomas Clark (2-3, 1 KO), of Barrington (NH), in a throwback New England rivalry match, in the six-round, main event for the vacant United States Boxing Federation (USBF) middleweight title.


Baptiste is a solid all-around boxer, but “head games” have taken its toll during his pro career, and now he’s in a crossroads fight.


“It’s just one of those things,” Baptiste explained his performance anxiety, “but it’s time to go. I need to beat my performance anxiety in this fight. I’ve been aware of it because it’s shown in my performances. I’ve been dealing with performance anxiety since I was a kid and it’s been more evident in my last few fights. I need to get past this. We’ve been training differently and I’m feeling very confident about what’s to come. I’m getting a different view from my coach, Brandon Montella.”


Baptiste and Clark are familiar with each other. In fact, they split a pair of amateur matches. “Black Dragon” won a split decision in 2016, lost a unanimous decision in 2015.


“The last time I saw Ryan was in the amateurs,” Baptiste remembered. “He won the first, I won the second. It’s seven/eight years since we last met in the ring. I hope he’s been training during that time because I have been in the gym every day since we fought. I just need to perform. I hope he’s ready because I will.”


Last November in his most recent fight, also contested at the Vets Club, Baptiste lost a six-round majority decision to Tony Andreozzi for the Mass. state middleweight title.


“That fight was very disappointing,” Baptiste admitted. “He had a great game plan and executed it. I lost, he won; I’m moving forward. An impressive win will get me moving in my career, possibly getting me another shot at a big fight. It is for a title. I need to keep training hard and listen to my life coach and Brandon.”


“Julien is a great guy, and he has a TON of potential,” GCP president Chris Traietti commented. “Everyone who knows him agrees on both counts. He’s just been inconsistent with his in-ring performances. In all of his fights he shows his toughness and resilience, regardless of what is going in his head he never gives up and continues to give it hell. His losses speak for that, two split decision losses and a majority decision loss. We are all hoping 2023 is his year to win the mental battle going on in his head and perform to the level he is capable of. It is not too late at all for him to turn the ship around and it could be quite the opposite. Who doesn’t love a comeback story, especially when it involves one of the most personable, humble fighters you will ever meet.”

Granite Chin Promotions Returns June 10th

With “Fight Night at the Vets Club”

Baptiste vs. Clark Headline In Bridgewater, Mass.!

(April 25th) Granite Chin Promotions (GCP) returns to the Bridgewater Veterans Club on Saturday night, June 10th, with “Fight Night at the Vets Club” in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.


The six-round main event pits former Massachusetts Middleweight title challenger Julien “Black Dragon” Baptiste (4-3, 2 KOs), of Woburn (MA), against Ryan Thomas Clark (2-3, 1 KO), of Barrington (NH), in an old-fashioned New England rivalry match.


Baptiste and Clark split a pair of amateur matches: “Black Dragon” won a split decision in 2016, lost a unanimous decision in 2015.


In his most recent pro fight, Baptiste lost a six-round majority decision, also contested at the Vets Club, to Tony Andreozzi for the state title. Clark’s most notable pro victory was a six-round unanimous decision over Kris Jacobs.


“We are excited to be returning to the Bridgewater Vets Club,” GCP president Chris Traietti said. “It is a great venue to host local boxing and this card will be highly competitive from top to bottom. Julien and Ryan have taken on all comers in New England and this fight has all the makings of getting the crowd on its feet. In his last fight, Julien and Tony (Andreozzi) put on one of the best local slugfests of 2022 and June 10th won’t be any different.”

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